FF newspaper boss won't use titles to win vote
A recently selected Fianna Fail general election candidate has insisted he will not use his position as the managing director of a local newspaper group to gain positive press coverage ahead of the next vote.
Iconic Newspapers managing director Joe Flaherty, who was selected to run for Fianna Fail in Longford-Westmeath, said the editors of all his titles have full independent editorial control.
"The editor of the Longford Leader and all the other Iconic Newspapers would operate completely independently and autonomously from the commercial end of the business," Mr Flaherty told the Sunday Independent.
"I look after the commercial and production end of the business and would have no scope to influence the editorial direction of the newspaper - and nor would I want to.
"The Longford Leader has represented the community since 1897 and has covered general elections before and after the foundation of the State, without fear or favour," he added.
Mr Flaherty was responding to a decision by Fine Gael headquarters to begin monitoring the political coverage in the Longford Leader following the managing director's selection by Fianna Fail.
A senior Fine Gael source said: "We will be looking closely at the coverage across all Iconic titles to ensure it is as fair and balanced as it has always been."
Mr Flaherty began working for the Longford Leader as a reporter in 1997, before working his way up the management structures.
He comes from a Fianna Fail family, but has never run for national or local election.
Fianna Fail sees Longford as a key battleground in the next election. The party held its annual parliamentary party think-in at the Longford Arms Hotel last week to promote its candidate. Fine Gael recently selected Longford County Councillor Micheal Carrigy to run against Mr Flaherty in the next election.