The Liberal’s Fernando Sanchez (pictured) has been a qualified journalist in both Ireland and Spain for over 20 years.
Having phoned the Fianna Fail press office 11 times, asking when their press conference for the Same Sex Marriage referendum was being held, as late as 5:30pm yesterday, the press officer claimed she “didn’t know when or where the press conference was being held”.
At that point we told her where it would be held! (Having spoken to a mole in the Fianna Fail organisation slightly earlier).
Stuttering and clearly completely out of her depth in the Fianna Fail press office, she claimed that Fianna Fail only spoke to “invited guest journalists” and we weren’t on the list, if our man was a member of the NUJ they would be willing to allow him to attend.
Journalists in Ireland do not need to be members of the NUJ.
This utter contempt for the freedom of speech and indeed democracy as a whole (unless you’re an identifiable Unionized journalist) is now clearly an integral part of the new Fianna Fail.
The Fine Gael press conference may have been lacklustre but they certainly were willing to allow the entire gambit of the media to attend. This closed-shop paranoid approach on the part of Fianna Fail is a chilling foretaste of the way in which any Fianna Fail led government would treat freedom of speech in the unlikely event that they get into government. It also reflects an underlying fear and lack of belief on the part of Micheal Martin in their campaign for a Yes vote.
At least Simon Coveney was willing to be interviewed, and we believe Jerry Buttimer will follow suit in the coming days.
We understand that Niall Collins has been tasked with the immensely difficult job of getting a Yes vote out of an almost exclusively traditional rural Fianna Fail electorate. A group of people who many feel have been treated with utter contempt by Fianna Fail headquarters.
We would like to ask Collins a number of questions on this referendum and we have submitted them to his Oireachtas email. When and if he decides to take up our offer, we’ll publish his answers for our readers to finally see what the Fianna Fail Yes campaign has to offer.