After Charleton

I wrote this before the Charleton tribunal first sat (and at a time when I didn’t think I would be covering it). It feels appropriate to repost it today. Every time a Morris report was published, experts and commentators suddenly appeared. They were almost entirely uninformed. And an awful lot of commentary will obsess about […]

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 […]

When you’re reporting your source’s point of view, its PR, not journalism

There was a rumour you see. And as far as the Guards were concerned, it was a believable rumour, despite the complete absence of any forensic evidence. So the Guards mobilised, and swooped down on innocent families. Not this week in Tallaght and the Midlands, but 17 years ago, in Donegal. The case led to […]

Street value

Hang around the courts for a while, as many journalists do, and you begin to notice some odd patterns. Consider these snippets from a google search of reports on drugs convictions, for example: “16.43 grammes of cocaine valued at €1150” “a kilogram of cocaine worth € 70000” “962 grammes of cocaine worth €67340” “932 grammes […]

Kelly Jones found alive

American tourist Kelly Jones (41) was today (Wednesday) discovered alive in a disused Church of Ireland rectory in Glencolmcille, Co Donegal. Jones, from Charleston, South Carolina, had been missing since Friday. A major rescue effort was launched after the alarm was raised when she went missing from Malinmore hostel where she was staying. Local volunteers […]

What they didn’t say

Sometimes, it’s the questions they don’t ask. Retired superintendent Tom Connolly told the Smithwick tribunal today about his time in Dundalk, and the day two RUC officers where killed in an IRA ambush returning from the station where he worked. Days later, press reports suggested a Garda “mole” fed information to the IRA. Tribunal barrister […]

Ink and the law

The Smithwick tribunal will not provide overnight transcripts to lawyers because it will cost too much, tribunal chairman Peter Smithwick ruled today. Last month, 200 Words reported Smithwick’s decision not to publish daily transcripts, and the protests that followed from several legal teams. Today, having considered their arguments, Smithwick confirmed his earlier decision. He said […]