Posts Tagged ‘Sunday World


The bad mother weekly

Is there any justification for the splash in yesterday’s Sunday World? If you missed it, it was basically an attack on Melissa Mahon’s mother. The Real Irish Sunday went to great lengths to point out how Mary Mahon, whose daughter Melissa was killed by Ronnie Dunbar, missed the funeral due to being too ill, yet was able to go on an eight hour drinking binge afterwards.

Media commentators have long pointed out that tabloids often confuse the public interest and what the public are interested in. But in this case I’m not convinced the public are really that interested in this one. Perhaps I’m letting my optimistic view on humanity cloud my judgement, but do people really want to join a rabble against a mother who’s lost a daughter, no matter the circumstances? I for one read only a couple of paragraphs. That’s all I had the stomach for.

I felt a great contempt for this woman (not helped by the photos they used) until I realised that’s what the newspaper wanted me to feel. Basically, we were being sold an outrage. Usually I don’t have a problem with this, it’s what tabloids do, but this time?

Assuming the story is true (which is by no means a certainty), who are we to judge a woman in this position? Could it be that guilt prevented her from attending the funeral, and the same guilt is driving her to drink? I don’t know, but I do know that the attitude of the Sunday World was puerile and smug, and characteristic of no society I want to be a part of.


Is Paul Williams a PR agent for Limerick gangs?

I am regularly annoyed by the coverage of crime (or, indeed, anything) in the tabloids, and the Sunday World has always taken the biscuit in this regard. There’s something unpalatably celebratory about the way Paul Williams reports gang-crime in the paper, and in his numerous books on the subject. It’s portrayed as a sophisticated network of subversives and outlaws untouchable to the Gardaí and all decent people, as opposed to, say, a couple of families in Limerick and North Dublin who make make a bit of money from drugs and enjoy fighting each other and sending kids who would probably be better off at online schools to do their dirtywork and are ultimately not smart enough to realise murder doesn’t get them what they want. Not that I wish to seem dismissive of the problems with gangs in Ireland. The murder of Roy Collins is proof if proof were needed of the seriousness of the organised crime problem in this country. But hyperbole is not the solution. “Murder Inc”, as they call it, isn’t much more that a few scumbags trying to impress bigger but no less stupid scumbags. Paul Williams has made more money from these crimelords than they ever could.

So, as I say, I’ve always found this coverage annoying. Yesterday, however, it instilled in me a very different emotion: fear. Not so much fear of the gangs, but fear that these gangs are actually being strengthened by Williams and the Sunday World. The paper had several pieces on the murder of Roy Collins in Limerick last week, two written by Williams, that laid responsibility for the hit with “Murder Inc. boss” Wanye Dundon. There’s nothing peculiar here, as several media outlets suggested the same thing (even though the Sunday World somehow claimed it was an exclusive), but “the real Irish Sunday” does deserve credit for explicitly pointing out that it was by appearing as a witness against the now jailed Dundon that Roy’s nephew Ryan Lee eventually got his uncle killed. It surely doesn’t take a genius to realise that this kind of talk is going to make it harder for the DPP to convince others to testify against gang members. For this reason, yesterday’s Sunday World can be seen as a PR coup for the Dundons and their ilk.

This is made worse by a headline on page 12 which declares, “For the sake of your family don’t go near the court or there will be bloodshed.” It’s in quotation mark, so presumably they’re quoting one of their interviewees. Now if someone were to make a comment while researching the piece, it would be perfectly reasonable – however unfortunate – to include it in the article. But in the fucking headline? The gang bosses must have been delighted with that. It’s the kind of advertising they can normally only dream of. But even this is an aside, because when you read the article (assuming the average Sunday World reader makes it that far), it’s impossible to place the quote in any kind of context. It never appears in the body of the article and isn’t acknowledged anywhere. Basically, we have this bold statement that testifying against these people isn’t worth the risk, without any information on where it comes from.

In 2005 Robert McCartney was murdered in pub brawl by someone who just happened to be an IRA man. The case against his murderer fell apart because nobody in the pub that night was able to identify the killer. They were all in the jacks at the time. Amazingly, the entire crowd of this pub had somehow managed to fit into this Tardis of a pub toilet. Perhaps I’m being naïve, but I don’t think the Limerick gangs have the power to intimidate possible witnesses through reputation alone the way the Ra do. However, with the kind of coverage given to these gangs by the Sunday World, that seems like something we can’t rely on for too much longer.