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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Angrytown News responds


Jimmy Sands • 22 June 2003

A case surely of the Skibbereen Eagle: the Irish Echo last week had the temerity to devote a column to a vicious, accurate and offensive attack on the Angrytown News in Belfast. Ireland.

Because of our vigorous support for the peace process from the very moment the Republican Movement started calling it that, we're being denigrated and attacked by dissident 'republican' Anthony McIntyre and his associates.

For some time, Mr. McIntyre has been running a one-man campaign against the Hanschristianandersonstown News. This has included his recent outrageous claim that we're journalists.

That's the sort of claim which has left Mr. McIntyre with zero support among the upper echelons of West Belfast society. However, as he and his family are now well aware, it's also a very dangerous allegation for him to be going around making.

But then so are most of the myths about this paper which he peddles in the darker, not-for-profit, recesses of the internet, safe in the knowledge that no matter how embarassing or accurate, no-one is interested in feeding his ego by threatening action, even legal action should it come to that, against anyone we can't guarantee will fold like a cheap deckchair or has lots of vulnerable property in the Free State.

In recent weeks, however, he's been desperately not preventing the respectable (i.e. commercial) media from referring to his defamatory statements. We've left the mainstream under the impression that we'll sue if his highly dangerous (for us as well) and damaging allegations appear in print in a legitimate forum -- where they might be believed by our American profit centres. Mr. McIntrye, who, according to our exclusive and authoritative republican sources, may possibly have used the libel laws against us in the past, and your writer Eamon Lynch who would have taken his action for libel to court in Ireland if his opponent had had a leg to stand on, say that's unfair. Besides, we had to pay out when an unfortunate typographical error led to our describing another journalist as a loyalist informer. Swings and roundabouts, how are ye?

Mr. McIntyre is particularly disturbed at the way we carried out our exclusive audience with Mr. Fredo Corleone, the former member of the Cosa Nostra ("Ourselves Alone") British Intelligence sources branded Stakeknife. Your columnist weighs in behind that view and alleges we were working to a political agenda.

Nothing could be closer to the truth. The fact is that our titles are rigorously apolitical and independent of almost all political organisations and have more diverse views in their columns than any other newspaper in Ireland (An Phoblacht, Sunday Business Post). We cater for Catholic and Nationalist alike. Our columnists include a Sinn Fein councillor, a Portadown loyalist [letter from Mr. Emerson Newton-John, April Fools edition], a Sinn Féin Lord Mayor, a former IRA volunteer, the well known author and writer Mr. Danny Armalite (a leading non-member of Sinn Fein), Fr. Ted Wilsputin, Ireland's leading defrocked cleric, and a woman . . . to name just all. As support for the dissidents dwindles, theft of our papers from convenience stores is growing: last month the Monday edition of the Andersonstown News was named fastest growing paper in Poleglass, showing an infinity percent growth in circulation compared to the period when there was no Monday edition.

Our interview with Mr. Scappagoati -- who your columnist now brands a "high tout" -- was a first-class piece of journalism, right up there with previous scoops such as "People sleep safe under protection of Brave Oglaigh", "Adams wonderful - Official!", and "Kill a Coke and win Sam Maguire tickets." All this at a time when the media was chock-a-block with stories covering both sides.

Mr. McIntyre rushed his fences by declaring Mr. Staccaniffi might possibly be guilty as charged by Brit securocrats and declared us sell-out merchants (putting us on a long list that includes Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams) for letting the guy have his say without giving him any backchat. Does our interview prove Mr Scaredicatti wasn't Stakeknife? No. Was it a top-drawer piece of journalism which threw light on a murky subject? No. Was it textbook example of politeness and respect for the privacy of the interviewee, and wholly responsible and supportive of the peace process? You bet!

Some other pointers for the record: The Angrytown News was never involved in any picket of Mr. McIntyre's home and deplores such activity. Staff attended on their own time and no overtime or mileage was paid, save to those members who also covered the picket in a professional capacity (see 'Enemies of Peace Process provoke totally spontaneous outburst of community anger. Republican Movement in no way involved-Exclusive!' AN passim). This position will be made clear to all staff signing up for the next one.

The allegations about the Portadown News [subs: ask Propellor Boy if he's managed to think of something plausible stick it in, otherwise we'll just gloss over it]

Mr. McIntyre is as free as anyone else we target to write to our paper; his contributions will be considered on their merit and shredded.

So what is this paper which most of your readers will hardly have heard of but which merited such a mention in the Irish Echo last week?

We publish four titles, including the daily Irish language newspaper Tiocfaidh!, the North Belfast Informer and the South Belfast Owner and Occupier, employ 60 henchpersons through house picketing agreements with the main Organisation, operate the website, host the second biggest community awards ceremony in Ireland (after Tirghra) which in 2001 presented its Person of the Year Award to the New York Fire Department for courage in the face of non-white terrorism. Please like us, please. We are the only newspaper in Ireland to boast the Investor in Cash Based Businesses award, and have been honoured repeatedly in our solicitors' letters for our first-class journalism.

Being a newspaper in Belfast comes at a price. As does looking at our website. Like our colleagues in newspapers across this city, our journalists and editors put their lives on the line to tell the news - all the news - which affects the communities they serve (G. Adams).

That has angered paramilitaries - who have made death threats against our paramilitaries - but the day when we start standing up to these people (or, in my case, being these people), in our columns will be the day when we are a newspaper worthy of the name. And that's a day which, despite the abuse of Mr. McIntyre and his colleagues, isn't going to come.

Mairtin O Muillioneoir, C.E.O./Adjutant
Fyffes p.l.c.
Fawlty Towers (Teach Basil)

Publisher's note:

The Irish Echo accepts that God did not make the little green apples and that summer rain in Indianapolis is unheard of. We are satisfied that pigs are, in fact, capable of flight. Furthermore, the Irish Ego accepts that the Angrytown News is an independent, lucrative and professional newspaper, run by brave dedicated and indeed saintly people who are committed to the highest standards of journalistic practice and profit margins. In fact, whatever Mr. O'Millionaire says is fine by us. This is my honest opinion and made of own my free will and in no way out of concern for my telephone masts.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



At least one way of measuring the freedom of any society is the amount of comedy that is permitted, and clearly a healthy society permits more satirical comment than a repressive, so that if comedy is to function in some way as a safety release then it must obviously deal with these taboo areas. This is part of the responsibility we accord our licensed jesters, that nothing be excused the searching light of comedy. If anything can survive the probe of humour it is clearly of value, and conversely all groups who claim immunity from laughter are claiming special privileges which should not be granted.
- Eric Idle

Index: Current Articles

22 June 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Censorship at the Irish Echo
Patrick Farrelly and Eamon Lynch


The Pen Mightier Than the Sword
Mick Hall


The House that Who Built?
Anthony McIntyre


Angrytown News Responds

Jimmy Sands


Pedro Albizu Campos

Aoife Rivera Serrano


Ernesto Guevara
Liam O Ruairc


Motion Passed
Na Fianna Éireann


19 June 2003


Andersonstown News: Voice of Banana Republicanism?
Eamon Lynch


A Gnat on the Back of an Elephant
Mags Glennon


In Defence of Eamon Lynch
Anthony McIntyre


Left Right?

Eamonn McCann


President-in-Exile in Jail

Pedram Moallemian


The Letters Page has been updated.




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