see of late the crows are beginning to circle the
Daily Ireland newspaper, somewhat prematurely
in my view, although it seems some people cannot
resist the thought of picking over the newspaper's
carcass or rejoicing in its imminent demise. Sadly,
due to the fact Daily Ireland (DI) emerged
from the womb of Provisional Republicanism, it has
not only been the usual suspects who have refused
to give the paper a fair crack of the whip.
progressive people, whether they are republican,
socialist, libertarian or indeed all three combined,
have been unwilling to display the same tolerance
to DI that they would have given to any other new
paper to hit the street. Indeed from this quarter
I have even heard comments such as DI is on a par
with the Hitlerite Daily, Völkischer Beobachter*,
which is not only a nonsensical comparison but in
my view is being very short sighted.
to date it has not been the most inspiring of reads,
but any new publication takes time to bed down.
Plus, it is far from an easy thing for progressive
political activists to move from publishing a party
periodical, the basic purpose of which is to spread
party propaganda and to be a source of information
about up and coming party events, etc, then to move
to a national newspaper, which aims at a readership
beyond the movement's fold (the same is true of
a local paper). Few have succeeded in making this
transition successfully; instead, more often than
not, despite the best of intentions a dreary newsletter
is what evolves, which hovers between terminal crises.
Whilst I would not place Daily Ireland in
this category yet, indeed on many issues it has
held its own, although it lacks vitality and needs
a re-think and perhaps even a re-launch.
those who founded Daily Ireland made the
same mistake as many who have embarked on a similar
venture. They take all political content out of
the new paper's name, as if to do so would distant
it from the party and its policies from whence they
came. For example, the British Communist Party's
Daily Worker became the Morning Star
in the hope it would attract a wider non communist
readership, and a decade later for much the same
reason, the Trotskyist Workers Press became
The Newsline**. Both papers had considerable
funding behind them and had a fighting chance; the
former had made a deal with the CPSU and other fraternal
Communist Parties to take over half of their print
run; and the Newsline had the backing of
Murmur Gaddafi's gold dinars, and when these ran
out it is rumoured for a time part of Saddam Hussein's
ill gotten gains were passed its way.
papers also had a priceless asset, the loyalty of
their work force, who being party activists worked
for a pittance in comparison with the rest of the
print world. Unfortunately, whilst having talented
journalists and dedicated printers working on the
papers, they also had the party leadership looking
over their shoulders. No matter what their politics,
there is nothing more conservative than the majority
of political leaders, the more so the higher up
the greasy pole they are.
seems Daily Ireland may not have suffered
direct editorial interference from the SF tops as
such, although what appears to have happened is
the paper's staff have attempted to second guess
what Gerry Adams and the rest of the PRM leadership
may think on this or that key issue of the day.
By doing this, the paper has displayed hesitancy
when reporting or editorialising. For example the
SF leadership has been all over the place over the
Affair McCartney, and this has been reflected in
the paper's coverage of this issue: only coming
down on the side of the family after Gerry Adams
finally made it crystal clear he was not kidding
or snowing over his support for the McCartney family.
Even then the paper continued to have a couple of
hiccups on this matter.
McIntyre commented the Daily Ireland should
look to Dev's paper the Irish Press for inspiration.
There is little doubt that in the early days this
paper employed some fine journalists; how I wish
Erskine Childers had survived the civil war, as
one would have loved to have seen how he would have
dealt with being at the helm of a national daily.
a more recent example of a successful progressive
periodical was Marxism Today, which started
life as a turgid Stalinist tome and under Martin
Jacques' editorship turned itself into a joy to
read. Nevermind I disagreed with much of its political
content, for it provided a debating platform centred
on the main issues of the day, whether they be political,
economic or cultural. Whilst the majority of the
Left was still shouting "the workers united
will never be defeated, MT was highlighting the
enormous changes then taking place within society
and proclaiming the fact if the left is to have
a future, it must take note of these changes, and
be conscious of them when we draw up a strategy
to combat multi-national capitalism, which is a
many hydra headed beast.
can deny Irish Republicanism has not reached a similar
stage today, where a new roadmap for the movement's
future needs to be drawn up if Republicanism is
not to morph into a tepid form of Irish nationalism?
Marxism Today collapsed when the Communist
Party of Great Britain imploded and the Stalinist
Tankies walked off with the party's empty shell,
the party's not inconsiderable assets having been
swiftly binned by an equally unprincipled and avarice
bunch of so called Euro communists, who eventually
went by the name of the Democratic Left, although
'democratic theft' may have been a more appropriate
name. Nevertheless for a number of years MT had
become an organ of influence and I see no reason
if it was emulated it could not be replicated by
a radical daily paper. After all, Ireland is hardly
awash with such newspapers.
first thing which should be binned is political
dogma. When Michael McDowell and those other rats
who represent Capital in the political sphere cried
the Daily Ireland was a Provo front, Martin
O Muilleor should have said 'yes, we come from within
the Provisional tradition and we will not deny it,
especially to the likes of you bunch of gombeen
men. But this paper will represent all the dispossessed,
down trodden peoples, whether at home or abroad.
We will challenge all those who over step the mark
of decent humanity and democratic accountability,
whoever they be, whether friend or foe'. Indeed,
with the McCartney murder and subsequent campaign
coinciding with the paper's launch, DI had a wonderful
opportunity to show its independence. True, it tried
to support the family but its readership could sense
the vigour needed in such a campaign was lacking,
a missed opportunity me thinks.
Daily Ireland could and indeed should have
played the controversy over Richard O'Rawe's book
Blanketmen for all it was worth, as this
was a debate that needed to be aired, and by doing
so the paper would again have been asserting its
editorial independence. Once again the peg was there,
awaiting the Daily Ireland to hang its own
cap on it and by so doing inviting others to do
those conservatives like Gerry Adams who believe
only ordered propaganda is of any use to their movement
were proved wrong. For after Richard's book was
first published, did the earth shake, was a loaded
weapon placed in the hands of the republican movements
enemies? Was it hell as like. Instead we all groaned
at the sheer silliness of the SF leadership on this
issue, which basically mirrored their tactics when
Ed Moloney published his book, A Secret History
of the IRA. In hindsight it seems incredible
this leadership trusted volunteers to go out armed
to the teeth, but still will not trust some volunteers
to read certain books.
Daily Ireland columnists, who have been chosen
to give us their thoughts on a regular basis, have
hardly been inspirational and bar the odd one, reflect
a narrow, conservative section of progressive and
republican thought. A bigger problem has been
apart, that is for the saintly Danny Morrison
the columnists have not been given the space to
develop their arguments and suppositions, thus their
columns often fall flat. Some may feel this is a
blessing, but it results in the articles reading
as if they have been cut and pasted by a heavy handed
sub. There are subjects that are crying out for
debate within the Irish media: illegal drugs and
immigration, the right of a home for all and a woman's
right to choose being at the forefront, as none
of Ireland's main political parties will go near
these subjects. Instead we get the same old reactionary
for Unionist columnists writing for the paper, the
word is none of them will work for Daily Ireland.
Whether this is true or not, I have no idea, however
I have noticed former loyalist and republican prisoners
have managed to put aside their differences enough
to publish the Other View, a magazine that
is published under the auspices of the ex prisoners
organisations Expac and Linc.
all else, a radical newspaper needs to appeal to
the young, for only the young are truly radical;
to do this the paper needs to be optimistic and
offer a better future for all. However, having said
this, a truly great newspaper will express political
opinions from all quarters. Hugh Cudlip's Daily
Mirror and Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express,
when at their best were half decent examples of
a popular press: both had columnists from across
the political spectrum. By doing so a paper allows
it readership some meat to disagree with via the
letters page, plus columnists can vigorously challenge
the arguments put forth by their fellow columnists.
One of the most inspiring newspaper articles I have
ever read was a Daily Mirror centre page
spread on the fall of Saigon. The writer, although
not himself a communist, left his readers in no
doubt the good guys had won. Can one imagine this
happening in a Red Top today?
cannot be surprised at Capital's political lackeys
such as Michael McDowell, working for the collapse
of the Daily Ireland by fair means or foul.
But for progressives, if the paper were to fail
it would be a setback, thus we should get behind
it. In return perhaps the paper should open its
pages to SF's foremost republican critic. In doing
so it would be declaring itself an independent entity,
proclaiming itself to be of the left, whilst welcoming
all to use the Daily Ireland if they have
something of interest to say.
whilst accepting distribution is the bugbear of
all non establishment publications, it does not
have to be an insurmountable problem, the more so
in a comparatively small nation such as Ireland
and with the energy and tenacity of many of those
who make up the ranks of the Republican Movement.
the Daily Ireland gets behind us, the wretched
of the earth, then we will not be found wanting.
To those progressive comrades who hesitate from
supporting DI, due to their previous experience
when dealing with the PRM leadership, I would say
this: is there any other national daily which is
prepared to meet us even half way?
Völkischer Beobachter translated into English
is Popular Observer, thus it was not only the left
who took all politics out of a papers name.
Unbelievably, the British Conservative Party already
had a periodical called Newsline.