Media failed to report alleged Sinn Féin activities in Derry, FF Senator says

Blaney claims there are ‘rumours’ of community monies not being properly spent

Speaking in the Seanad, Niall Blaney said  democracy is under attack. File photograph: Tom Honan

Speaking in the Seanad, Niall Blaney said democracy is under attack. File photograph: Tom Honan

 

Fianna Fáil Senator Niall Blaney has condemned the media over what he termed was its failure to report on alleged Sinn Féin activities.

The Donegal Senator claimed “the lack of reporting with regard to what is happening in Derry is extraordinary. I refer to the situation whereby politicians are being stood down by a political party.”

The media has however reported on the controversy surrounding the announcement by Sinn Féin MLAs Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan that they would not be running again for the Stormont Assembly.

Mr Blaney also launched a scathing attack on Sinn Féin and claimed “the legacy of former deputy first minister, the late Martin McGuinness, has been torn apart”.

“What is the problem with the media in this country that they are afraid to report these things,” he asked.

Speaking in the Seanad with full parliamentary privilege Mr Blaney said “there are all kinds of rumours in Derry of community monies not being properly spent.

“There are also rumours of drugs being involved. It is in everybody’s interests that the media report these things.

“It is extraordinary that, for the last six weeks, the media in this country would not touch the matter. What is wrong with our media? Have they been infiltrated? Are they afraid? Why will they not investigate these things?”

Mr Blaney referred to the controversy surrounding Sinn Féin’s electoral database known as Abú but said a “much wider” investigation is needed.

“Sinn Féin is spending tens of thousands of euro week in, week out on newspapers, media and independent journalists across the country and they can attack anybody on social media with the drop of an email,” he said.

“Our democracy is under attack at the moment. We are talking about cyberattacks. This attack needs to be investigated and it is much wider than just the Abú website.”

Mr Blaney also made reference to convicted paedophile Liam Adams who died in 2019 and was a brother of former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

The Fianna Fáil Senator said : “Gerry Adams’s brother was placed in a Donegal house for three years and had charges of paedophilia made against him. No media would ever touch that story.

“Everyone knew about it in Donegal but nobody would touch it. Our democracy is under attack. It is time our media spoke up and woke up and we got independence for all parties in this State.”

Replying for the Government Seanad leader Regina Doherty said that “a lot of the time, many of us are left scratching our heads wondering why mainstream media, as we call it, does not reflect on some of the topics raging on social media”.

But she said that “any journalists or editors you speak to will say the root of the difficulties lies in our defamation laws”.

“Maybe we should be having a debate on the defamation laws as opposed to maybe questioning why some of our Irish media do not do what we would so wish them to do.”