Wednesday 18 July 2018

Press Ombudsman rejects complaint made by Adams

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has had a complaint against the Irish Independent rejected by the Press Ombudsman.

Mr Adams had claimed a front-page article published on September 1 last, in relation to the IRA killers of Co Louth farmer Tom Oliver, had breached Press Council rules.

The story, which was headlined "Don't jail IRA murderers of innocent farmer - Adams", carried extracts of an interview Mr Adams gave to LMFM radio after gardaí discovered new lines of inquiry in relation to the murder of Mr Oliver in 1991.

The report stated that Mr Adams said he didn't think jailing Mr Oliver's killers "would assist the wider process". He was also reported as saying that jailing the killers "would be totally and absolutely counterproductive".

How the Irish Independent reported the story last September
How the Irish Independent reported the story last September

The story ended with information that the full story was inside the paper on page six.

Solicitors for Mr Adams complained to the Irish Independent, claiming the story was "grossly inaccurate". When the Irish Independent's legal team stood over the report, Mr Adams complained to the Press Ombudsman Peter Feeney.

Solicitors for Mr Adams said the "headline and whole tenet of the article" was inaccurate as Mr Adams had "stated in the interview that Thomas Oliver's family deserved the truth and also that Sinn Féin continued to facilitate attempts to put in place an independent international body to obtain information for Mr Oliver's family".

Mr Feeney said that while the front-page story did not mention that Mr Adams had said he supported the rights of families of people killed by the IRA "to see investigations and prosecutions", this information was carried in the fuller report on page six. Mr Feeney said: "The view that Deputy Adams regarded the sending to jail, if convicted, of the murderers of Mr Oliver as 'counterproductive' was newsworthy."

Irish Independent

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