Dublin’s Evening Herald brings us this story of Tommy Morris, and adviser to Derek Keating, a TD (member of parliament) for the government party, Fine Gael.
Keating has been involved in a dispute with a local school principal, Tomás Ó Dulaing, after the TD apparently claimed credit for a school building extension in Lucan, a neighbourhood in Keating’s Dublin Mid-West constituency.
Local freesheet The Lucan Gazette ran a front-page story last week in which Ó Dulaing accused Keating of “gross cynical opportunism” in taking credit for the work. In an open letter, the principal attacked Keating, saying: “Neither did anybody from our board of management or staff contact you or seek your assistance in relation to the extension. You had absolutely nothing to do with this development, and yet you distribute a leaflet in the Lucan area claiming to have ‘initiated, led and delivered’ this extension.”
How to respond to this? Keating’s aide Morris took Route 1, entering a Centra minimarket in Lucan and grabbing a bundle of Gazettes before throwing them in a rubbish bin nearby.
Mr Keating was, needless to say, shocked (shocked!) by his aide’s hands-on censorship technique, telling the Herald:
“I am shocked and disappointed at Tommy’s actions, which I had no knowledge of. I cannot believe what he did and I certainly did not direct him to do so.
“But Tommy was upset when he saw the article and must have had a rush of blood to the head. We don’t believe the article was fair at all to me.
“Tommy was out in the area taking down posters depicting me as an abortionist when he entered the shop and saw the papers.
“This publication is a free sheet so there is no question of Tommy breaking the law.”
To be fair to Mr Morris, he was already out on a mission pulling down posters critical of his boss: Would a few local papers really make any difference?
(h/t Niamh Puirseil)
UPDATE: “Derek Bleating” on Twitter (we suspect not his real name), points out that the Lucan Echo had the same front page story. But as you have to pay for the Echo, Morris seems to have left it unmolested. Strongest case for paying for content yet made?
Padraig Reidy is senior writer for Index on Censorship. @mePadraigReidy