Sindo Editorial Does Not Speak For Us

I made passing reference in a thread yesterday to a disturbing anti-German/French editorial in yesterday’s Sunday Independent.   You can make up your own mind about the sentiments expressed if you haven’t seen it already.  It is available here.  

Paul Hunt has described the ugliness of the sentiments more eloquently than I ever could.   He has also convinced me that those who disagree should make their voices heard, however faint we are relative to the megaphone of a leading newspaper.   I must quickly add that I think the Sunday Independent has many outstanding journalists, and I am sure that few agree with the sentiments expressed.  They must be most embarrassed of all.   I would not see any point in this post if the Sunday Independent was not such a worthy newspaper.   Whoever penned and whoever approved the editorial has let the paper down. 

There is a danger in drawing additional attention by posting here.   But Paul and others have convinced me there is a bigger danger in staying silent. 

If you would like to note your disagreement with views expressed in the editorial, I would ask that you add your voice or even just your name in the comments below.   I know the majority of our readers do not usually make comments, but you might make an exception this one time.   It is important to let our partners in Germany and France –with whom of course we will continue to politely disagree from time to time — know that the editorial does not speak for us. 

Thanks, John McHale

82 replies on “Sindo Editorial Does Not Speak For Us”

i still can believe that peice was published as a straight editorial by one of our ”papers of record”. i’ve seen some biased euro sceptic peices in the UK telegraph and the Sun in the past but the sindo peice looks like an aprils fools editorial gone wrong.

What happens if you agree with the editorial? Is he not just saying a bit more plainly what John Bruton effectively said in his letter to Barroso?

I certainly am not in favour of living in a European Union run by Germany and I don’t think I’m a racist or a tabloid journalist for expressing that view. Germany have continually dealt with the crisis solely based upon the electoral interests of the SPD party and the financial interests of Germany.

It’s not by accident that Weber pulled out of the race for President of the ECB, Europe does not want to be run by Germany. I don’t believe the editorial was suggesting that Germany was returning to its fascist history but what I do believe it was suggesting is that Germany is using its current economic prowess to dictate the terms of how Europe should move forward.

There are several sound policies that could have been implemented at a European level from the beginning of this sovereign debt crisis that may have prevented Greece from being forced into a punitive bailout and stemmed the risk of contagion that eventually enveloped Ireland. Still now there are several sound proposals which could halt the crisis, yet Germany won’t budge and it looks like Portugal will be another victim of their unwillingness to move.

There are 7 German state elections due to take place this year which will determine the composition of the upper house of the German parliament as well as determine the base upon which SPD can maintain their mandate.

Germany have been playing politics while Europe burns and I believe that editorial reflects accurately the sentiment that is felt not just by aggrieved Greeks and Irish but also by many mandarins throughout Brussels.

The Sunday Independent has a high noise/signal ratio (economic speak for saying the Sindo is a rag).

I Concur.

This particular editorial contravenes all tenets of the Kantian tradition of moral philosophy, and the more recent development of Discourse Ethics as developed by Karl-Otto Apel and Jurgen Habermas – which I personally follow.

That we may continue to agree, or disagree, on substantive matters in a true spirit of European cosmopolitanism.

Now, lets get back to the discourse on placing the lifeworlds of all European citizens, and not exploitative banks or elitist political power, at the heart of the European Project.

You don’t have to be a fan of recent Franco-German behaviour to find the Sindo’s editorial offensive. Comparing Merkel to Hitler is outrageous.

i never commented before because im normally completely outta my depth, but the sindo-“a worthy newspaper”?!. i mean come offa it! it’s a rag.

John McHale’s “anti French” accusation and vague accusations remind me of how those who opposed the Iraq war were demonised as anti-American. What utter absurdity. Does this country even have a right to elect its own parliament any more?

What is the purpose of the post? Is it to brand the opponents of government centralisation in Brussels as racists? Instead of throwing around predictable accusations why not deal with debate on its merits and respect difference of opinion? After all, debate is the foundation of a healthy democracy.

John McHale clearly doesn’t read much Sindo these days if he thinks that “whoever penned and whoever approved the editorial has let the paper down”. They have been an absolute rag (worse even than the Daily Mail) for some years now. Their fictitious circulation figures fool no-one, no more than their equally-fictitious “polls”.

Some may recall the Sindo’s pursuit of the details of Morgan Kelly’s private life last year, and the silence emanating from the quarters of IrishEconomy at that time (incidentally, at the same period when the octogenarian Garret FitzGerald was pursued here for slighting certain Irish economists in the IT).

@John McHale.

I am really glad you took a stand on this. Well done. I have posted my original comment below.
‘He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.’

John McHale.
Re: Sunday Independent. I just read the editorial through your link.

A scurrilious piece of racism both in its tone and in its hate filled content. It would not be first time a major news media organization tried to whip up zenophobia when its own economic interests were threatened. This after all is the organization that cheered for and cheer-led 13 years of Fianna fail mis-rule with “Its payback time” editorial.

I heard no demonization of the cutting of blind peoples allowances from that editor. Nor do I expect any.
Neither can I concur that the piece would be ok, if it came from a columnist. There should be no forum for contributions of its kind.

lets not forget the same august publication once carried an article belittling(not quite the right word but ye know what i mean) the special olympics.

Horrible, offensive languaue used in the editorial. However let’s call a rag a rag. The only thing worth reading in it is the intelelctually stimulating thought-pieces by Brendan O’Connor…..

Neverthelss I appreciate John McHale for highlighting it. One shudders to think how this will be viewed in the rest of Europe.

The Sunday Independent is a rag as odious and hypocritical as any in the world. Tireless in cheering on Bertie and the boom one minute and heaping bile on anyone who dared question its foundations, they’re now in high dudgeon at all in public office as if it had never happened.

Back when foresight was at a premium it wasn’t FF or the banks that the Independent blamed for our problems, but the talkers. “If There is a Downturn, Who Talked us Into it?” read one headline. Brendan O’Connor encouraged people to buy in at the peak like the “smart and ballsy” people were supposedly doing.

Naturally, the editorial manages to be turgid as well as offensive. One thing is certain: whoever wears “the velvet glove of humorous quips”, it won’t be any of the intellectual titans at the Sunday Independent.

From the offending article, a couple of sentences were particularly interesting:

“……….our future is decided by Frau Merkel’s need to retain the support of Hans, who spends every Friday night in the local Bierkeller complaining about the feckless Greeks, Irish, Turks and other lesser races”

The author had a problem here in that if he had the last two words the dispassionate reader would have been inclined to empathise with Hans and Angela Merkel. It is a classic case of loosing your own argument and then calling people names out of frustration.

“…..need to build a modern league of small nations to curb the imperial ambitions of Frau Merkel and her devious French collaborationists”

Apart from the point that France actually declared war on Germany when others didn’t choose to, got invaded, and actually had a genuine resistance while other countries made some “interesting” choices – there is a strange omission here.

Cars made in Ellesmere Port and Luton might not in future be advertised with as German at some point in the future, but Britain must be studiously ignored as an ally. Is this because it is Imperialist, or is it just that it might be possible for Ireland to tell other “small” nations what to do.

I find the comment “I would not see any point in this post if the Sunday Independent was not such a worthy newspaper” a lot more offensive than the article.

Left out, er, “left out”…….3rd paragraph should be

“The author had a problem here in that if he had left out the last two words…”

@ John McHale

I’m with you on this one – great people and country 04-06 & 09 -.

But like ourselves have their own gombeen men & gob*****.

Just another ‘westbrit’ popping up at the ‘Indo’ thinking he won a war against ‘The Gerrrrrmans’.

Good ad for the Shinners though ! (:

Now that’s the best revenge of all!

The newspaper business is in decline and most are now operating at a loss. The Sindo is appealing to the nationalist tendencies of the lowest common denominator or as they are known in Ireland “ignerent eejits”. We will not be out gutter pressed by the Brits, we have the talent we have the will and by jingo we will win.

Blaming the foreigners is an English speaking country popular sport. Unfortunately for us our Gov’t shot the economy in the gut before 2007 and since death was not imminent they issued the shot to the head when they backstopped the banks. Neither Germany, France, Italy or GB counselled our Gov’t to blow the mother and father of all property bubbles or to prop up the banks to the point it was sure to pull the country into sovereign debt default.

There are a lot of people in Ireland who desperately want to believe that we were not governed by an irresponsible bunch of drunks, clowns or fools. The mass media in a bid for circulation and profitability will cater to this segment that has been shaken to the core by Church scandals, incompetent Gov’t, irresponsible institutions and banks that were irresponsible in the extreme.

In most countries when people want to replace the non performing party there are at least two honest parties to choose from. In Ireland this is not the case as we Irish desperately cling to the devils we know. Were we terminally stunted by the Famine, Poverty, the Church, the British. We need to know so as we can deal with the issue.

@ Mickey Hickey

The Sindo is appealing to the nationalist tendencies of the lowest common denominator

The “nationalism” in the Sindo, it needs to be clarified, is of the West Brit anglophile variety (a speciality in ‘Sir’ Tony’s papers), and nothing to do with Irish nationalism/republicanism.

@ John Kennedy

‘I believe that editorial reflects accurately the sentiment that is felt not just by aggrieved Greeks and Irish but also by many mandarins throughout Brussels.’

The German people love the Irish as a nation, I have direct and on-going experience of this, as I am sure some of you do.

This racist rant is deserving of no more comment than ‘I’d rather that the author and the editor had taken the same route as the product of my last session on the ‘throne’.

As for the ‘mandarins’ off similar sentiment – look where they took Ireland.*

*Colm McCarthy ‘Who the F*** is he? Is this the guy who is looking after our money?’

I paraphrase – apologies Colm.

@ Michael Hickey

Well said.

Change the ‘shirt’ nothing changes.

When will this nation ever grow up?

Typical Irish. In the middle of the most severe economic crisis our country has seen since the foundation of the state and all we can care about is how we look to the Germans!!!
How quickly we revert to our natural abject colonial state. We are a disgrace and should never have been given independence. We are only at home when competing with each other for the affections of a disinterested foreigner.

I must quickly add that I think the Sunday Independent has many outstanding journalists, and I am sure that few agree with the sentiments expressed. They must be most embarrassed of all. I would not see any point in this post if the Sunday Independent was not such a worthy newspaper. Whoever penned and whoever approved the editorial has let the paper down.

Sorry, but no. The Sindo is a rag and has been for at least the last decade. With a few exceptions, I’m not sure that their journalists are actually capable of embarrassment.

It was a cheerleader for FF during the bubble and the disaster that follows, and now, realising that power is about to change hands, is sidling up to FG. The editorial is a disgrace but not exceptional other than in its choice of target. It simply shows that patriotism is indeed the last refuge of the scoundrel.

It just goes to show how much we would shame ourselves, if Fintan O’Toole got his wish to have a referendum on debt restructuring.

Having 2 children that are of a different colour to myself, I’m always intrigued by the defensive human instinct to resort to racist abuse to try to demean others.

There was a classic case at the Vietnam War dominated Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 when Senator Abraham Ribicoff referred to the ‘Gestapo tactics’ of Mayor Daley’s police; Daley shouted up at the platform: “You Jew sonofabitch; you lousy m-f, go home!”

@ Ciaran Daly

What is the purpose of the post? Is it to brand the opponents of government centralisation in Brussels as racists?

This is a ridiculous inference to make.

@ John Kennedy

You refer to the SPD party twice in your piece but it is in the Opposition.

Sometimes the Irish newspapers make me really angry. The section about Hans and the bierkeller and the lesser races is as disgraceful a piece of writing as I’ve seen in a long time.

@John McHale,

Many thanks for kicking this off. I think we should endeavour, when condemning this trash, to try to turn this to positive effect.

Voters in the core EZ countries are angry and this is primarily because they have been duped by their politicians who pushed the Euro through over their heads and tried to convince them it was the best thing since sliced bread. It would be for the best of all possible worlds, they had everything nder control and nothing could go wrong. The reality, much and all as core EZ politicians are seeking to conceal it, is ugly and will cost these voters.

The EU, if it is anything, is a continuous struggle towards something better in the face of low politics and the pursuit of national interests. And we have seen plenty of these in the current crisis. Core EZ politicians are encouraging the demonisation – and enforcing punishment – of the peripherals to deflect attention from their own failings. This is reprehensible, but it is understandable; politicians are the same everywhere. At the same time there is a strong political commitment to keep the EU on track. Excessive demonisation of the peripherals – coupled with grudging and inadequate support – will encourage core EZ voters to demand that they be cut loose – and anti-EU sentiment in the peripherals will grow. This is a fine line while the sovereign bond market is poised to punish any nonsense that increases uncertainty.

What all voters throughout the EU share – and what they need to acknowledge – is that they have all been duped by their politicians (and appointed officials) and that they should have been paying more attention. It is out of this shared understanding that some common purpose might be forged to fix these problems.

We should be reaching out and not engaging in mutual recrimination. There is fault enough on both sides to go round, but it won’t provide the basis to work out sustainable solutions.

Two further points are relevant. First we have been ill-served by our Fourth Estate – many commenters have picked out the Indo and not because of this ‘piece’. But others have failed equally in their duty – if not noticeably worse than the Fourth Estate in most other countries.

Secondly, some people seem to have a strong sense that any resolution of the current EU crisis will result in subservience to the German national interests. This leads to a major question about Ireland’s future economic strategy that Richard Fedigan and others have been raising. Perhaps we might give more thought to this.

Sindo a drooling rag w few honourable exceptions: Ross, McKenna, odd oped prices
John: don’t give it o2

After Alan Ruddock passed away, the sindo had Celia Larkin in his place writing articles on bond markets…nuff said really….but i’ll say more!……. as for Brendan O’connor, Mary Harney and Brian Lenihans cheer leader in chief, some of the stuff he has written about them is nauseating. Which is a pity, because he seems to have his head screwed on about a lot of things… far as the editorial goes…probably inevitable given the current ongoing efforts to paint europe as a key factor in a mess that was all of our own making.

Comparing modern Germany with Nazi Germany is indeed in bad taste. It wasn’t that long ago that a well known academic contributor to this blog did precisely the same.

For goodness sake what do ye all expect?
Our so-called ‘Fourth Estate’ is a supine,p.r riddled,fact bereft parody of what it should be and the Sindo is top of that heap.
Get over it the lot of ye!

I agree with the sentiment that we need to stand up for ouselves in europe. The language used in this piece however was Sunday World standard.

@Mickey Hickey

There are a lot of people in Ireland who desperately want to believe that we were not governed by an irresponsible bunch of drunks, clowns or fools.


We are a disgrace and should never have been given independence.

@Ordinary Man

When will this nation ever grow up?

@Mickey Hickey

Were we terminally stunted by the Famine, Poverty, the Church, the British?

JTO again:

Talk about pots calling a kettle black.

I’m an Austrian living in Germany. Granted the muted reference to our Nazi past is a little bit overblown but the rest of the editorial is on the point. I agree with the author, that Mediterranean countries, Belgium and Ireland must rediscover their spin and stand-up to unreasonable and unfeasible demands from Germany, Austria, IMF, ECB, … This whole competitiveness brouhaha from Merkel et al is only ridiculous.

The government of Greece, Ireland, … is elected to further the public purpose of it’s citizens and in this regard is only accountable to them and it is NOT a local agent to execute the mindless agenda of the ECB, European Banks and zealous mercantilist states. I think these pseudo-political-correct postings are not very helpful. They only further the EU-wide public TINA sentiment.

We can defend Ireland’s interests without describing an entire nation on the other side of the negotiating table as racist warmongers.

Indeed, some would say that the two go hand-in-hand.

The Sindo editorial was crude, repugnant, and stupid. Worst of all it was possibly damaging: it is one of our most widely circulated newspapers and as such, it has the potential to create negative sentiment to Ireland beyong these shores.

The colonial reference too is both nasty and silly. Our membership of the European Union has been hugely beneficial. The EU it is true is flawed and requires continuous efforts to reshape, but the message from Ireland like that in the Sindo or indeed Gilmore’s “Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s way” may seriously damage our ability to influence our path in Europe.

Ireland, for a small nation, has been a very successful operator in the Union. That it has contributed positively to the EU and punched above its weight is widely acknowledged.

China has recently surpassed Japan as economy number 2. The world is changing and is increasingly dominated by a small number of truly gigantic players. Even the EU, functioning well and in harmony, may just about be able to lay claim to a place at the table. For small nations like Ireland, it is absolutely critical to be part of this kind of larger partnership.

The danger for Ireland now is that we sleep walk into being bitter Eurosceptics. If we do so it will in large part be through terrible political leadership, but it will not be helped by the kind of populist, sparring trash as recently seen in the Sindo.

Sindo in lowering the bar of lowest common denominator shocker. I am shocked that you are shocked.

With no Sun on a Sunday, someone has to fill the gap. A pit of slurry cannot stand a void. Occasionally foul gaseous smells rise.

Mark it down to experience, buy something else and move on. It’s a shame the Tribune is no longer available…

@ Donal

@John McHale
This article could be construed as in breach of Principle 8 of the media Code of Practice, which prohibits ‘incitement to hatred’. First step might be to complain directly to the Sunday Independent editorial office and then depending on their response, if unsatisfactory, to take the matter up with the Press Ombudsman, citing Principle 8 as the grounds for complaint. Not but that I’m sure the Press Ombudsman could paper the walls of his office with the number of complaints received about the Sindo in general!

@ John McH

the Sindo piece is ridiculous, but its also indicative of some real anger out there (justified or not), and will, unfortunately, appeal to the base instincts in a lot of people. I think a few people have suggested that an interest rate of 6% on the EU/IMF loans is more akin to ‘war reparation rates’, and Morgan Kelly foresaw a hard-right anti-European political party rising from the Irish economic collapse. Already the Irish love affair with the EU is already visibly under tremendous pressure that is obvious to all. So while the type of rhetoric used by the Sindo is lamentable, it will doubtless be repeated, and it is somewhat to be expected given our current economic malaise. Explaining the more rational and level headed opposition to the current policies is the only antidote to it.

I thought that Denis O’Brien bought into the independent group because he wanted to teach them a lesson about the dangers of gutter journalism. Obviously not.

The indo/sindo are a revolting blot on the national consciousness. I voted with my feet a longtime ago. I suggest others do the same.

If the Sunday Business Post had sports coverage…

Stopped buying the Indo many years ago. It was obvious then it was pretty awful, with a few exceptions – which were not worth the cost. Encourage your friends not to buy it.

The first part of the piece seemed to be a bad bar-room joke. Some of the remainder was in very poor taste. An ill-directed, stupid, semi-racist rant filler wrapped in a thin veneer of matters of some significance. Someone should be able to ID the author.


@ Eureka

‘We’ most definately were not given independence – we shot, bombed and burned our way to a negotiating table.

Problem was we then bent the knee to the Chruch and plodded on as best we could electing self seeking ‘local’ poiticians al la Jackie Healy Rea.

Can’t see past the paroichial/county line and last years GAA Championship.


Don’t lump me in with that WB, self loathing attitude. (:

Very far from it.

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Hunt’s post this morning – look at this as an opportunity for the country to redefine ourselves and engage properly as equals for a better future.

The Irish nation could do worse than take a look at what the German people have been able to achieve since ’45 and get on with it.

Well, (John McHale), you may be surprised to hear ( from me) that I ‘m not in the least shocked, outraged or upset ( on behalf of my French wife, co-residents or German neighbours – whom I’ve got to know over many years in business and pleasure here on the continent) at the Sindo editorial.

Firstly, NOBODY in continental Europe has, or will, read it!

Secondly, without overanalysing the market “positioning” of the newspaper, it serves a constituency/readership and the sentiments expressed are entirely coherent with that readership’s legitimately-held, if not overly cosmopolitanan viewpoint.

Thirdly, the core argument, that European politicians are pandering, for electoral reasons, to some of the xenophobic tendancies of their electorates and, in so doing, vilifying the “peripherals” for their own politico-economic reasons is, quite simply TRUE ( and a point I’ve made before using the your valued commentary platform). Let’s not get over-excited by a bit of florid language that won’t and wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in a German bierkeller or French bistro if, as I said, anyone in either of these establishments has ever heard of the Sunday Independent in the first place.

As a very recent concrete example, Sarkozy’s two-hour televised ” Parôles des Français” propaganda-fest last week ( facilitated by a pussy-cat sexagenarian “moderator” who preceded every question with obsequious “Monsieur le Président”s) was a vomit-inducing effort to out-right wing the Front National including solomn promises that HE, as CHEF d’ETAT ( repeat, a lot)) would NEVER let France, which has not balanced a budget in 35 years) end up like Ireland or Greece!

Let’s get back to the core of our problems please: how to pragmatically and realistically negotiate the best deal we can to ease our already-signed deal with the “Europeans” ( who are well able to look out for their own xenophobia but less able to solve their/our banking crisis!) and the IMF.

Oh! and we also have one or two issues with the attack you were advised (before Christmas) would come on our CT rate, our over- dependence on non-employment-generating US FDI. And emigration, of course, which seems to be increasing!


And this comes from someone who has likened the banking guarantee meeting on 29th September 2008 to the events in the film “Conspiracy” and our apparent blitheness in negotiating a bailout with the title of one of Tadeusz Borowski’s books.

I have witnessed myself the attitude of continentals and others in the 2000s when we turned up in their countries with bags of cash wanting to buy their property. “Ahh it’s IRA money” was not an uncommon perception. At least the ignorance might have been partly excused by the recentness of difficult Irish history.

But stretching back into the 1930s to tarnish our EU partners is pretty lowest-common-denominator stuff. And as for “if Germany continues to behave like the fat boy in boarding school who thinks he can do what he wants because Papa owns the tuck shop “, haven’t seen that stereotype since Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka.

German pensioners, bilked of their life savings by reckless lending of their banks to our (recklessly supervised) banks that then recklessly lent to developers whose recklessness is costing us all, freeze to death because they can’t afford their heating bills just as much as our own.

David Malone in a recent blog had a piece entitled “Who bankrupted Ireland?” in November 2010

“Expect lots more national stereotypes to be wheeled out for ritual defamation. So let’s ask who it was took a dump in Ireland? …………………………………….They are bankers losses. It is NOT a question of Irish or German. It is question of wealthy bankers from all countries not just Germany – almost every nation, Germany, America, Russia, France Britain, we (sic) did dirty work in Ireland – and their corrupt Irish helpers versus the people. It is not a question of should the Irish people or the German people pay. Neither people should. It should be the bankers who made the losses who should take them. DO NOT allow the bankers to set us against each other as a cover for their crime and guilt.”

The Independent editorial did indeed wheel out some of the worst national stereotypes for ritual defamation, as Malone suggested that we should expect. However, the editorial did point out amidst all the ranting that “it should be noted that when it comes to the re-invigoration of Germany’s urge to dominate, that our own damned stupidity has created the appalling scenario.” It’s a pity that this point got lost in the rant.

@Mr. Bond,

“Explaining the more rational and level headed opposition to the current policies is the only antidote to it.”

I fully agree with your adjectives, but I believe the ‘opposition’ has to be finely nuanced. An excessive focus on opposition can easily lead to the ugly sentiments the Sindo has expressed. What energised me in this instance is that holding the editorial chair of a print organ with a large circulation confers the power to speak to, and to be seen to speak for, a large number of citizens. But it also imposes responsibilities and duties in a democratic society that is associated with other democracies in pursuit of fundamental, shared purposes. I have no wish to suppress the expression of these ugly sentiments; it is far better that they are out there and contested. But it should not be the editorial stance.

And imo it is not sufficient, as some here seem to think, to view this as an ugly fact of life and to express one’s disapproval by refraining from subscribing to the print edition. I suspect the web-based version may have as much currency as the print edition. Our scrutiny of the media should be as vigilant as that we apply to politicians and appointed officials – even if both have been seriously deficient over the last decade.

And as to ‘opposition’, this has to be in the form of a constructively critical engagement. It would not be a sign of weakness if our next government were to concede that Ireland has been ill-governed – and to concede that they, while in opposition, did not do enough too expose this misgovernance. But it would allow them to highlight the failures in governance of the EZ, the dangers of pursuing the current approach which is perceived as demonising and is genuinely damaging the peripherals.

But, above all, our next government’s ability to speak confidently and clearly to our EU partners will have to be based on a demonstrable commitment to reform democratic governance and to pursue meaningful structural reforms of the non-tradable, sheltered sectors. And finally, the focus on defence of our low CT rate (which, inreality is probably similar to the effective rate on mobile MNCs in most other member-states) should be advanced as a transitional arrangement while we revise and develop Ireland’s future economic strategy in the context of the EU’s strategic economic engagement with a multi-polar world.

@Paul Hunt

Our scrutiny of the media should be as vigilant as that we apply to politicians and appointed officials – even if both have been seriously deficient over the last decade.

Indeed. The media police the politicians, or are supposed to anyway, but who polices the media? Based on any reasonable performance metric, the likes of Brendan O’Connor and Marc Coleman would long since be out of a job. The only possible conclusion, as with Austin Hughes, Dan McLaughlin, Jim Power etc, is that their employer feels their job performance is fine — that truth is a situational commodity, in other words, and that nudging people in a preferred direction is more important than nudging them in the correct direction.

Leaving aside the unsavoury personalisation of Germany as Angela Merkel, I think there is a basic truth in the Independent: the smaller nations of Europe do need to counterbalance the larger economies. And we will need a strong Foreign Minister to do our share in that. I alwasy thought that “Europe” was going to work out that way.

Firstly this is quite a political topic for the IE forum.

Secondly I agree that the editorial was written to appeal to the basest emotion, but would side with Richard Fedigan. Most, if not all Germans will not read this mulch.

However there is a wider question to be asked, as we don’t have a true ‘National Front’ movement, are we seeing the start of one?

Throughout the 70s and 80s the Confederation of Irish Industry (Remember it? Old-timers raise their hands) plagued successive governments about the need to push French and German in education. The state had joined the EEC, now it was time to get serious about market opportunities. I can’t quite picture the faces of the old hands at CRH and the like, but the Sindo blathertorial must have those above ground sickened and those below ground revolving in their graves. It is another example of ‘deflective thinking’. The compunction in official Ireland to misidentify the seat of problems requires for its probing a particularly Freudian turn of mind.

Shamefull article and it looks very close to incitement to hatred in my opinion. Morgan Kelly’s prediction of a right wing anti europe movement may be taking shape! Is it getting a voice ?
Perhaps it was just too much red wine.

@ Richard Fedigan

It’s appreciated that the Sindo editorial won’t excite much interest in the bierkellers or the bistros of Germany and France, but that’s not the point. The concern here is with the media standards displayed in this editorial and what they signify for attitudes within the country.

@John McHale
IMHO this thread should not have been started!

I look forward to reading many more of your excellent postings and aticles (unfortunately I cannot consider this as being among them) in the future.


This thread may ensure that the relevant editorial will be read(not only in “bierkellers”or”bistros” )throughout Europe in full knowledge that the relevant newspaper, despite itś populism, reflects sentiment in Ireland.

As a consequence I am inclined to interpret this posting and thread as being irresponsible and having no place on this site which I rely on for objective analysis and information.


Given the quality of your interventions during previous visits to this board I am little taken aback by your comments. John McHale had no obligation to respond to my request – or those of others, but I’m glad he did.

Imo, we are in this mess because we have tolerated ‘low standards in high places’ for far too long. Those who were aware and could have intervened turned a blind eye. Irish people seem to have this charming, but ultimately damaging, characteristic of being able to suspend judgement almost indefinitely – except for elections or court judgements. It is time to stop.

All citizens will have an opportunity to pass judgement on 25th Feb. But it will only be a judgement on politicians. Judgement continues to be suspended on many of those in the ‘permanent government’ who were complicit – and on the cheer-leaders in other professions.

If we continue to turn a blind eye to offensive offerings such as this editorial – and to entertain a pretence that it doesn’t matter – we are merely demonstrating that we have learned nothing. If this editorial comes to the attention of readers in the rest of Europe or elsewhere via this blog, it will demonstrate that some progress is being made. Far better than having readers encounter it without an awareness of the comments here.

@Paul Hunt

As a reader who does “not usually make comments” I am A “little taken aback” by the first sentence in your immaculately written comment particularly when you stress the importance of not turning “a blind eye to offensive offerings”.

While we may differ on whether John was correct to respond to your request(and thereby attracting the kind of attention it is likely to outside Ireland) I have no doubt we both agree on the importance of “articles”.

Truly awful. As a regular reader of the Sunday Indo I was genuinely shocked at the vicious tone of the editorial and wholeheartedly agree with Mr. McHale that this is in no way a reflection of widespread Irish opinion or sentiment.

I agree with your sentiments John, but not with your description of the SIndo as a “worthy newspaper” – it has been a ling time since that description fitted. The editorial was vulgar, cheap, racist and unthinking. Cop yourselves on Aenghus & Co

It is a junk article from a junk newspaper – an article from a half-decent newspaper on the same underlying topic would look a lot more like this.

For those who say “no one in Europe reads this” – correct. But there is an underemployed German Embassy in Dublin (as practically all embassies are) who do read the papers – what else to do on Monday? – and report back in glorious prose to headquarters on the crude and extreme anti-German statements of Ireland’s largest selling newspaper. And all because German politicians pander to their voters (just like Irish, or any other, politicians do).


Which is why a nice “photo-op” of Angela and Enda in the next dayś German and Irish papers (and no more mention of Sundays editorial) would, IMHO, have been the best course of action.

I once had a conversation with a senior German diplomat about another (non-english speaking) small EU country and was flabbergasted by how much he knew about the minute details of that country.

This site receives a lot of attention (and respect) throughout Europe which is why I do not feel it was a good idea to draw attention to the editorial this thread is dealing with.

Ireland may be an island but only when it comes to physical geography.

I wonder who we can send over for another photo-op?

Ireland has always used external reference points to judge itself. It’s because we were allocated resources by a foreign power as opposed to winning them for ourselves.
This is different. We will succeed on the basis of our collective endeavour and not because johny foreigner thinks we deserve to.
All Europeans have fought for their nations. They would expect no less from us.

That piece [Editorial] is deliberate & an incitement. The fascists would have been proud of such a piece.

Very disappointing. It contributes nothing to the debate or the solution. As John pointed out in his piece it may [or response may] contribute in some way to circulation, though I doubt it. Laughter is usually a good response – except it’s not funny.

“One wonders who among the Rainbow ranks might fit that particular bill.”

Try the Mirror.

My No. 1 goes to France & Germany …


No intention to cause offence. You present a perfectly valid counter-argument. I, on the other hand, believe, rather than ignoring it, some good might be generated by confronting this ugly offering. Voters in Ireland (and in the other periphrals) are angry because they are being required to discharge private debts they did not incur nor authorise to be incurred – and some of this is being directed at EU institutions and core EZ politicians whom they consider are imposing this burden. Voters in the core EZ are angry at the peripherals because they view them as feckless and are unwilling to share this burden as they believe they have previously contributed to lift the peripherals out of economic backwardness and the legacy of dictatorship (and, with this assistance, should have gotten themselves to a point where they were able to govern themselves responsibly.)

Voters in both areas should be angry at their politcians (and the officials they appointed) as they have been duped by them. These politicians and offcials, in turn, were duped – and continue to be duped – by the global elite of financial capitalism (and their lobbyists, cheer-leaders and ‘useful idiot’ academics).

But anger, as Colm McCarthy has emphasised, is not a policy. This anger should lead to a resolve to ensure that all economic and financial policy and regulation is subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny and secures proper democratic consent. All EU citizens are suffering from the outcomes of flawed policy and regulation. We should focus on what unites us and channel our anger into ensuring things are done better.

@Paul Hunt

Thank you!

Please rest assured that I respect (and share your sentiments regarding the embarassing content and inappropriate tone used in the specific editorial) your argument.

I also completely concur with your excellent closing sentence.


The exchange between Paul and Livonian provides an excellent note on which to wind up the discussion.

Although we don’t all agree, thanks to everyone for a civil and productive conversation.

Hey John,

Before you wind up why don’t you try the Press Ombudsman as suggested by Veronica above. You may be able to force a retraction or apology.

That is their job afterall. Hovever them being an quango type operation (and some previous experience) I would not expect them to be of any use.

But go ahead, and tell us how you get on.

@m nespot,

This is John’s call, but I would counsel against it. My preference would be for the editor to reflect on the views expressed here and respond appropriately. Initiating public advocacy, quasi-judicial or regulatory proceedings would be unlikely to encourage the desired response.

@ Paul

Yes, try the editor first.
But what is the point of having the quasi-judicial or regulatory organisation?
Surely it should enforce as opposed to encourage?

@m nespot,

In general, I would agree, but in this instance there is a question of timing. It would be in everyone’s interest if this leader were retracted and something positive published before the election. There is a slim chance of this happening, but there is no chance it will happen if the enforcement route is pursued.

All of these ‘regular readers’ of the Sindo contributing to this site??!!
Have ye no shame or nothing better to do ‘of a Sunday’??


In my previous comment, I suggested taking the matter up with the editor in the first instance, and then referring it up with the Press Ombusdman if the response is unsatisfactory. Unless there is a new editorial abjectly apologising for the tone and content of the previous week’s offering in next Sunday’s paper then arguably the response may be deemed unsatisfactory. In any case, a complaint can be made up to three months after the offending material is published. So if people wish to pursue the matter after the election is over, there is ample time to do so.

To be honest, I think there’s as much chance of the Sunday Indo retracting this leader prior to the election, or thereafter, as a snowball in hell. The media don’t play by Queensbury Rules, and certainly not the Sindo. In my professional capacity over the years I have dealt more than once or twice with newspapers seeking retractions, corrections etc. and even where they were flagrantly in the wrong, it was like extracting hens’ teeth trying to negotiate anything with them.

The Press Ombudsman’s office is a creation of the Irish media itself, a compromise that was wrung out of the newspapers in exchange for some relaxation in the defamation laws. It was the newspapers too who devised, and signed up to, its principles; including Principle 8. Now those principles either stand for something as rules of conduct or they’re just more mealy-mouthed aspirations to appease the rest of society that the Press are going to be made to behave responsibly in the exercise of their role and functions within society. Then again, this is a great country for rules to keep our institutions in check, and an even better one for ignoring them.


Many thanks for this. I think your last sentence sums it up for me. I am pleased that John McHale saw fit to use this board to give readers here an opportunity to express their disgust. I don’t see any point in pursuing this further.

I think the key message (lesson?) is that we should all be more vigilant in our scrutiny of the Fourth Eatate.

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