Saturday 3 December 2016

Eoghan Harris: Miriam did us all a service by respecting Obama's roots

Published 29/05/2011 | 05:00

MIRIAM O'Callaghan's coverage of President Obama's visit to Moneygall made her only the third reporter (the others being the late Liam Hourican and the current Northern Ireland editor Tommie Gorman) to fully grasp one of RTE's major responsibilities: the remit to respect all the traditions on this island.

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An RTE reporter must not merely speak for the majority but must also speak for the marginalised and the minorities. In an Ireland under the shadow of the dissident IRAs, the same duty devolves on all our media -- to remember the positive contribution of the Protestant minority, a minority both in the Republic and on the whole island.

Last week in Moneygall, Miriam O'Callaghan, almost alone in the Irish media, reminded us that President Obama is descended from Protestants so poor they were forced to emigrate. In doing so, Obama's Kearney ancestors were joining an earlier exodus of Northern Protestants and Dissenters who today form fully half of the Irish-American diaspora.

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