Further inquiry into the controversial topic of media ownership in Ireland will not be conducted, according to An Taoiseach.
Social Democrat Catherine Murphy recently raised her concerns in the Dáil about the purchase of the Celtic Media group by Independent News and Media (INM) which was approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. This is seen as problematic as the INM will now control five national newspapers and 28 regional papers around Ireland, considered a clear example of media ownership concentration.
“While media concentration is an issue in its own right, the ownership of such a large proportion of our print broadcasting and digital media by someone who has consistently used the courts to create a chilling effect on journalists and other media outlets has to be questioned in the most serious terms,” said Murphy while addressing Enda Kenny.
Findings from an unpublished report for the European Commission which stated Ireland is susceptible to “high risk” of ownership concentration in the media has sparked a national discussion which puts certain personalities in the limelight.
Sinn Fein MEP, Lynn Boylan launched a report which magnifies the lack of variety in the hierarchy of Irish media and examines its plurality in October.
“An ‘independent study’ commissioned by a leading member of Sinn Féin? Hardly,” said Denis O’ Brien.
Denis O’Brien, a man who is said to have more money than God, owns a significant minority stake in INM which publishes the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, The Herald, the Sunday World and the Belfast Telegraph. In addition, he has capital in the commercial radio sector, as chairman and principal shareholder of Communicorp.
O’ Brien, with all his eccentricities like suing the satirical website ‘Waterford Whispers’, may have masked a growing problem with Irish media.
Liberty global, the company that owns the cable group Virgin Media has recently bought UTV Ireland as well as TV3. A topic which Dr. Roddy Flynn, a professor at Dublin City University who carried out research for the EU commission report, stated was an issue that needed more attention in relation to media ownership.
Image Credit: William Tuke