All posts by Gerard Cunningham

About Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and tweeter, yet still finds himself underemployed. Go figure.

Fry Up

They’ve wasted a perfectly good controversy The Irish police are investigating Stephen Fry for blasphemy. Well, not really. A few years ago, Fry gave one of those “If you’re so great, why is everything crap?” answers to Gay Byrne on a lightweight Irish religious programme when asked what he’d say if he ever met God. A viewer decided to put Irish law to the test, and complained to the police…. Read Article →

Justice “administered in public” and data protection

A few weeks ago, a message appeared on a Facebook journalism court from a reporter, who had just been told he would not be allowed advance notice of district court cases any more because of “data protection” issues. I was curious to learn more, so I sent in a Freedom of Information request to find out what these instructions were, and what the reasoning behind them was. An email has… Read Article →

The Charleton Report

As possibly the only journalist in Ireland to have covered two Garda tribunals of inquiry in their entirety, I should probably say a few words about what will probably come to be known in shorthand as the Charleton Tribunal. For starters, although I’d be glad to do so, it’s deeply unlikely I will cover a third Garda inquiry. The Morris and Smithwick tribunals &em; Morris in particular &em; occurred under… Read Article →

Nimbyland

Blocking the twitter accounts of nazi yanks who write “controversial” articles in The Irish Times is all very well, but we really need to talk about Ballaghadreen. Because its typical, not exceptional The thing is, we don’t need a lexicon to explain the half-mouthed pieties of local councillors or ambitious senators. You know the kind of thing. When people have “concerns.” We tell ourselves comforting lies. Sure we’re grand altogether,… Read Article →

The Trouble With Algorithms

There’s a notion going round that not only should Facebook not interfere with the newsfeed to stop Fake News, but it is incapable of doing so. This is absolute nonsense. I follow maybe 300 people on Facebook. I regularly see updates from about a dozen. Sometimes, that’s because people haven’t posted recently. But usually it’s because Facebook decided I don’t need to see their updates. So whenever you hear that… Read Article →

Is there anything to be said for another Mass?

So, some of you might remember I tried to #FOI the lobbying efforts that led to a law banning foreign Mass cards undercutting Irish priests. And the Dept of Justice refused, explaining that there was a box of files, and it would take 40 hours at €20 an hour to look through the box. I had asked for all the records relating to Section 99 of the Act, and those… Read Article →

We would never do that

Ireland would never vote for Donald Trump. We would never vote for someone who wanted to restrict citizenship on the basis of skin colour. We’d never vote for someone who wanted to restrict women’s reproductive choices, who would forcibly imprison a pregnant women and carry out a caesarian section by force, or keep a pregnant corpse on life support while a young family watched in helpless despair. We would never… Read Article →

‘I am not bound by decisions made by my predecessors’ – RTE FOI

A few years ago, after reading a news story about a “dossier” sent to RTE about its political coverage by a political party, I sent in a freedom of information request, asking for “any submissions from political parties regarding partiality and bias in political reporting and commentary on RTE”. The request was initially refused, on the grounds that RTE did not have to supply information on “programme related functions”, citing… Read Article →

What’s the worth of a a freelance?

A while back, someone posted to a freelance journalism group in Facebook looking for some advice on rates/ They’d been told by a published that they paid “standard rates”, and naturally, this raised the question, what are the standard rates? So I answered in part as follows: There is no such thing as a standard rate. and if I were to tell you one, I would be breaking the law…. Read Article →

FOI: The Poor Box

Ever wondered what happens to the donations people make to the poor box in the Irish courts system?  I sent in a freedom of information request to the Courts Service asking that question. Poor Box Donations 2014 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97BNQQ6gbcfdWdrb3IxRHBNSDQ/view?usp=sharing Poor Box Donations 2013 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97BNQQ6gbcfcUdTWjRpampGaFE/view?usp=sharing Poor Box Donations 2012 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97BNQQ6gbcfWmYwUF81QWNIcTA/view?usp=sharing