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Oireachtas media committee will ask former editor of The Guardian to appear over Roy Greenslade’s IRA comments

Alan Rusbridger has said he was not aware of the media commentator's republican sympathies


Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. Photo: Dan Chung/The Guardian /PA

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. Photo: Dan Chung/The Guardian /PA

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. Photo: Dan Chung/The Guardian /PA

THE Oireachtas media committee is to ask former editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger to outline his knowledge of media commentator Roy Greenslade’s IRA sympathies.

The committee, which has a majority of Coalition TDs and senators, agreed to a proposal from Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne on Wednesday to contact Mr Rusbridger despite the Government backing his continued membership of the Future of Media Commission.

Mr Byrne is hoping that the former newspaper editor will appear before the committee in the coming weeks to discuss his knowledge of Mr Greenslade’s support for the IRA’s armed campaign.

IRA abuse victim Máiría Cahill has called for Mr Rusbridger’s removal from the commission examining the future of Irish media because he was editor of The Guardian when Mr Greenslade wrote an article in 2014 questioning the credibility of a BBC Spotlight programme about Ms Cahill’s abuse case.

Mr Greenslade has recently disclosed details of his long-held support for the IRA’s armed campaign. Mr Rusbridger says he was not aware of Mr Greenslade’s 2014 post, nor Ms Cahill’s legal correspondence with his newspaper at the time of the article, until last week. He has apologised personally to Ms Cahill, while contending that he was not aware of Mr Greenslade’s sympathies for the IRA.

The former newspaper editor wrote to Media Minister Catherine Martin on Tuesday to outline his position and the committee today agreed to seek that correspondence as well as a full account from Mr Rusbridger himself.

Mr Rusbridger may also be invited to appear before TDs and senators at a later stage.

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Two Coalition sources on the committee claimed that Sinn Féin were reluctant to go along with the proposal during a private meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Greenslade has also recently disclosed that he is currently a member of Sinn Féin having long supported the republican movement and previously written for An Phoblacht. Meanwhile, Ms Cahill has long been an outspoken critic of Sinn Féin’s handling of and response to her case.

However, Sinn Féin TD and committee member Imelda Munster denied suggestions her party opposed the move.

Ms Munster said she had pointed out at the meeting that the Government had already backed Mr Rusbridger.

“At no stage did we say we were opposed, we were interested to get the correspondence he [Mr Rusbridger] sent to the minister,” she said. “I certainly didn't oppose it, there was no objection to it whatsoever.”

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