The day before voters went to the polls at the last general election, the Irish Independent, unusually, ran a big front-page editorial which caused consternation among politicians and journalists alike. "For years we have been bled white - now it's payback time," it screamed. It criticised the economic policies of the then government, and urged readers to vote for Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats. Not quite oozing with objectivity, you might think, but newspapers are entitled to their opinions.
However, when a powerful newspaper throws its weight so dramatically behind a particular prospective government, there is bound to be speculation about the relationship between the paper, its owner and the political system before and after the event. Irish Times columnist Dick Walsh went so far as to wonder which of Tony O'Reilly's other business interests was most affected by a possible change in government - was it mining company Arcon? Or the MMDS multi-channel TV system? Whatever the motivation, it seems to have worked.
Tony O'Reilly, chairman of Independent Newspapers