Political Reporting. How Independent is the Independent?

In Blog, Politics by Fedayn47 Comments

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan

Everyone has agendas. The Independent carries this piece excoriating Ming Flanagan (not for the first time) over his Dáil attendance record. It’s completely false. Why would they do that? Before you make up your mind, open it.

Statement from Flanagan follows:

Independent newspapers incorrectly reported over the weekend that “Luke Ming Flanagan has one of worst Dail attendance records”. In fact far from having the worst record I have instead got one of the best Dáil attendance records off all TDs.

The Indo super sleuth Michael Brennan appears to believe that of the 35 times that the Dáil sat in the first three months of the year I had only attended on 24 of those days. If he had bothered to do his research then he would have seen that he was in fact very wide of the mark. A half an hours research on the Internet would have shown him this.

The first day that the Independent claims I did not attend the Dàil was Thursday January 17th. That however does not add up given that on that day I voted on the Electoral Amendment Bill. They claim that I failed to attend the Dáil on Thursday February 7th. This was the time when the government rammed through ‘the deal’ on the promissory notes. On this particular day, that the independent claims I did not attend, I spoke in the Dáil chamber on the IBRC liquidation Bill. I also voted on 4 separate occasions. On Friday February 8th when they claimed I was not around for work I attended meetings in my Dáil office followed by a four hour meeting on Garda corruption. The indo claim I did not attend the Dáil on Thursday February 21st when the record quiet clearly states that I voted on the Finance Bill. On the following Thursday the 28th they get it wrong again. They claim I did not attend but yet again it is clear, for anyone who bothers to check, that on that day I voted on the Electoral Amendment (Dáil constitiencies) Bill. In fact the Dáil record shows that I also put in an application for a topical issues debate on Harristown House on that day. On the following Wednesday the 6th of March I voted on the HSE Governance Bill yet the indos Michael Brennan reports that I was not there. Two days later on March 8th I am not meant to have turned up either yet I attended meetings in my Dublin Dáil office that day. Less than two weeks later on Thursday March 21st I voted in the Dáil chamber on the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill. But yet again, I’m sure you’ve got it at this stage, it is reported by the indo that I could not be bothered to turn up for work even though the record clearly show otherwise. I also voted that day on the Disability Services Private Members Bill yet the indo fail to notice this either. The following Thursday March 28th I questioned Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on the potential sale of Coillte. For some reason the independent is in denial about this too even though a few minutes searching on www.oireachtas.ie would have revealed the truth. On March 26th I attended meetings in my Dublin Dáil office. Yet again the indo incorrectly suggest I have not done my job.

Of the 35 days that the Dáil sat in the first three months of this year I missed one day and that was Friday January 18th. On that day I had appointments in my Castlerea office with constituents. So in total I missed one single day in The Dáil in the first three months of the year and not 11 as reported by the Indo. This amounts to an attendance rate of 97.1% which is one of the highest of any TDs in the country. What is amazing is that the independents journalist could not have established this themselves. When carrying out this exercise I decided to see could a ten year old neighbour find out what the countries biggest news group could not. I gave them the list of 11 dates on which the indo claimed I had failed to turn up for work. I also suggested they try www.kildarestreet.com . Within 10 minutes they were able to conclusively contradict one of the dates. How come the countries biggest media empire could not?

It is however not just attending Dáil Éireann that matters. The most important part is what one does when there. One of the best way to decide this is the number of Dáil debates that deputies participate in. This information is also available fromwww.kildarestreet.com. When one looks at the number of debates participated in for the last year it can be clearly seen that I have taken part in 86. Deputy Naughten has taken part in 46 and deputy Feighan 43. So in other words I nearly participate in as many debates as both my constituency colleagues combined, I am one of the top attenders in Dáil Éireann and I do it all for 50% of the pay of other TDs.

I have today spoken to my solicitor regarding taking legal action against Independent News and Media for printing a series of articles suggesting that I had one of the worst Dáil attendance records when nothing could be further from the truth.

ENDS

Update:

We spoke with Mr.Flanagan to confirm that while the Independent hadn’t published the exact 11 days he was supposed to have missed, he surmised that these were days where he hadn’t used the electronic fob to ‘check-in’. He explained that when one forgets to use the fob it is possible to sign in with a pen or even at the end of the term to look back on your missing days and correct the record that way. This is common practice and should be well known to any journalist dealing with matters of the Oireachtas, let alone the deputy political editor of the Independent.

Update:  12th June – The Independent has printed a correction in their In Brief section – no apology. Here

Comments

  1. The (willful) misunderstanding seems to have come about because of an electronic clock-in system. Presumably people forget to clock in, so are recorded as absent. But I guess “Ming worst at clocking in” isn’t a great headline.

  2. He’s probably correct, but have you guys checked his facts?
    I’m not saying he’s a lying self-serving hoor, but he’s a lying self-serving hoor.

    1. If he is a lying, self serving hoor, then that just makes him an average TD. He outlined how you can go about checking his story so I’d wager that he’s not lying about this.

  3. You’d swear a TD would at least go over what he’s written, a grammar check never hurt anybody!

    1. Sorry to be pedantic, but you should have proofread your own submission first too! You can’t join two independent clauses with a comma; you should have used either a semi-colon or a full-stop!

      1. I will be even more pedantic and point out that you shouldn’t put a comma before but.

        1. Why? That’s not a mistake. How would you have written it differently?

          1. indo is a rag ,full of lazy self centered so called journalists apart from gene kerrigan

  4. Were these postal votes submitted while availing of political junkets in sunnier climes??

  5. Because they have an agenda. Bought and paid for by the Elites of this world!

  6. The comments on the blog are interesting. Rather than discussing the willful distortion of a TDs attendance record by a national newspaper the commenters are picking him up over a misplaced comma.

    Curious.

  7. It is, its the worst type. Pretending to be a broadsheet NEWSpaper, when these days the vast majority of headlines are about celebrities. Its become a dull magazine with the format of a newspaper

  8. Oh right. I won’t bring up the typos and wonder why he didn’t proof read an important statement so.

    1. At least he did’nt ruin the country like the politicians in power did. He didnt sell our natural gas to shell and pocket the money. He isn’t as bad as the sick corrupt Garda who beat peaceful protesters for no reason. Victims of sick culture we all are.

  9. Hey, fair enough. I didn’t know much about him til he was elected.
    The turf-cutting just came off as a Healy-Rae eyed view of the world.
    The two-faced shenanigans with the penalty points sealed my view that he’ll say whatever’s expedient. I thought we were getting something different, it seems like more of the same.
    Maybe I just miss Tony Gregory.

  10. Understandable, although when Shatter read out his private letter in the Dáil it actually changed a lot of minds about the penalty points debacle. Worth reading back over but not enough space here to explain. Basically he explained that his penalty points were removed without his petitioning and he wrote to shatter to explain that this is widespread, he also asked for his points to be reinstated. Shatter instead manipulated it the same way he tried to do with Wallace’s meeting with Gardaí at the Five Lamps and with Clare Daly’s arrest and humiliation for non drink-driving. The Independent lapped up each leak and reported them as Shatter desired.

  11. Because they’re a lying pack of cocksuckers who won’t even pay up for the damage they’ve done when they’ve been beaten fair and square in the most serious case of libel in the history of the state. Unless you are willing to risk your home to clear your good name they will be allowed by the law of the land and the ignorance of the reader to destroy you and your family then go straight for a spot of squash. Their main currency though, remains the gullibility of the citizen. This is why it is key for indie media not to follow suit and regurgitate bullshit purely because it is printed somewhere; and then dismiss critique of that shortcoming as dissent or “random abuse”.

  12. Hey Luke, Your on the Govt hit list so you can’t be surprised when they send aloft their winged monkeys in the media to cut you down, Wallace,Daly,Flanagan all wore the ruby slippers & Govt could not allow this, a word of warning for Joe Higgins, Govt/media are both aware he once put potato skins in his green bin so he should brace himself for the coming onslaught.

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