Thursday 21 September 2017

Lack of space affected article

Madam -- In her article 'Mary gets fingers burnt in firestorm over abuse', (Sunday Independent, May 13, 2012), Eilis O'Hanlon defended comments by journalist Mary Kenny in the Irish Catholic recently, criticising a lack of precise detail in media reports on clerical child sexual abuse allegations. Eilis O'Hanlon wrote: "Interestingly, there was one sentence in Kenny's article which was not quoted in the Irish Times's otherwise lengthy precis, and it was this one: 'I accept that John was the victim of an odious crime.'" She (Eilis O'Hanlon) continued: "How that could be translated into a charge of downplaying, or otherwise making excuses for, clerical abuse is inexplicable. Nor was she, as later claimed, accusing victims of evasion." As the author of that Irish Times report I should make it clear the only reason that sentence from Mary Kenny's article was not included came down solely to the bane of all reporters, space.

To underline the point, for reasons best known to herself Eilis O'Hanlon quoted just part of the sentence of Mary Kenny's to which she referred. It read: "I accept that John was a victim of an odious crime, but I want to know more about the circumstances. Much more." I made no comment on Mary Kenny's article in my report for the Irish Times or since but, if I might say so here, it does strike me that is akin to saying: "I accept the Holocaust was an odious crime, but I want to know more about the circumstances. Much more." Or: "I accept that the Enniskillen bombing was an odious crime, but I want to know more about the circumstances. Much more."

Patsy McGarry,

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