An editorial lapse


At The Irish Times the default position has been and will remain that the views expressed, often robustly, by our columnists and contributors such as cartoonist Martyn Turner, are largely sacrosanct. We’re in the business of providing a platform for civilised debate between articulators of a wide range of views from left to right, social conservative to liberal, to whatever you’re having yourself, and whose presence in these pages has never implied our endorsement .

That aspiration is very much in the spirit of the obligations placed on the paper’s editors by the Irish Times Trust’s principles which require the paper to ensure that “comment and opinion shall be informed and responsible ... and special consideration shall be given to the reasonable representation of minority interests and divergent views” and to uphold “the promotion of peace and tolerance and opposition to all forms of violence and hatred, so that each man may live in harmony with his neighbour, considerate for his cultural, material and spiritual needs.”

That means, however, that there is no carte blanche , and that there are ground rules which we try to adhere to, mostly with no argument from those contributors. Civilised debate, we accept, requires the eschewing of ad hominem argument, playing the ball, not the man, and avoiding crude stereotyping.

Sometimes, however, things fly in under the editorial radar. Martyn Turner’s cartoon on Wednesday is a case in point. In making a legitimate argument about the debate over priestly responsibility for reporting child abuse and the concerns for the seal of the confessional, Turner also took an unfortunate and unjustified sideswipe at all priests, suggesting that none of them can be trusted with children. This has, unsurprisingly, caused considerable offence and we regret and apologise for the hurt caused by the cartoon whose use in that form, we acknowledge, reflected a regrettable editorial lapse.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.