O'Brien's tribunal troubles

 

Madam, – Is Elaine Byrne suggesting that it might be better if the Moriarty tribunal didn’t make any adverse findings against the State (Opinion, July 28th)? She speaks of embarrassment, and perceptions on the international stage and suggests that the final findings will be practically irrelevant anyway.

She ends by asserting: “The challenge is to distinguish between systemic and individual corruption; petty and grand corruption; moral and legal corruption; and rumours and reality of corruption.”

I disagree. The real challenge is that, for once, we face up to reality and do what all other accountable democracies do – prosecute and mete out appropriate punishment to those found guilty of corruption. – Yours, etc.

ANTHONY SHERIDAN,

Carraig Eoin,

Cobh,

Co Cork.

Madam, – I am disappointed by your decision to publish a letter by Tommy Tighe (July 29th) which unfairly impugns the reputation of the Sunday Timesand several of its journalists. Last weekend our newspaper reported comments made by Denis O’Brien about both the Moriarty tribunal and the future of Independent News and Media. Mr O’Brien is a public figure, and whether Mr Tighe likes it or not, his comments on these subjects are a legitimate matter of public interest. We did not portray Mr O’Brien as “some sort of hero”. On the contrary, we reported his own damaging admission that the Moriarty tribunal has made negative findings about his business dealings.

The full-page spread on the costs of the Moriarty tribunal, to which Mr Tighe also refers, was the result of a series of Freedom of Information Act requests by our journalists over a long period of time. The cost of the tribunal is a matter of public interest and surely your correspondent is aware that far more people than Mr O’Brien are concerned about it. Far from having our agenda dictated by Mr O’Brien, the direct opposite is the case: his advertisement criticising the Moriarty tribunal, the one featuring chocolates, was based on facts first revealed in The Sunday Times.

Finally, far from our business section reporting “some triviality or other”, it carried important comments made by Mr O’Brien, a minority shareholder in INM, about the company’s troubled future.

We are not “in awe of Mr O’Brien’s ascent to control of INM” – which of course he doesn’t control anyway. Instead The Sunday Timestreats him as we do every other public figure, without fear or favour. – Yours, etc,

FRANK FITZGIBBON,

Ireland Editor,

The Sunday Times,

Bishop’s Square,

Dublin 2.