Apr 082016
 

For those who never heard of the Limerick Post (and that would include everyone who doesn’t live in Limerick), let me explain what it is.

The Post is a free sheet, pushed through every letterbox. It earns its crust by advertising, and to that extent it performs a useful service, especially for the dwindling number of readers who can’t use a computer. You can find out where to buy garden furniture, how to sign up for a course and what’s on in those music venues that paid for an ad.

Limerick Post

You can look up who died and when they’ll be buried.  You can read quasi-articles about anti-wrinkle injectables and fashion-show extravaganza fundraisers.

All par for the course in a small organ aimed at a smallish city. It’s good. That’s the service free ad sheets offer.

But sometimes, such publications start to get ideas about themselves. Sometimes a free advertising sheet can start to think of itself as a real newspaper and before you know where you are, it starts to take itself seriously.

That’s where the trouble starts.

This week the Limerick Post ran an editorial defending an article it published in the previous issue, and it seems logical to start there, since anyone reading it might easily form the impression that the Limerick Post was under attack.

The article is titled

[dropshadowbox]Limerick Post defends immigrant worker against attack by human rights group.[/dropshadowbox]

Now, it’s rare that we can’t get beyond the headline before starting the analysis, but the Limerick Post has given us this opportunity.

Nobody was attacked.

The human rights group Doras Luimní took issue with statements attributed to an anonymous individual quoted in the earlier Post article. That’s all. Since the Post was unwilling to identify the source of the inflammatory statements they published, Doras Luimní, even if they wished to do so, were not in a position to attack anyone.

Clearly, somebody with influence in the free sheet doesn’t like being contradicted, and in an extraordinarily Trump-like hissy fit, chose to present criticism as an attack. I think we can see where this is going. The opening sentence of the editorial sets out the sheet’s position on the matter:

[dropshadowbox]The Limerick Post newspaper has accused a local human rights group of trying to silence the dissenting voice of a vulnerable immigrant worker and stifle the right to free editorial expression.[/dropshadowbox]

There you have it. Free editorial expression. Translate that into English and you see an outraged, red-faced bully kicking toys out of the pram. And again, if the bully behind those words understood what they were talking about, of course they would understand that free editorial expression does not include the freedom to promote vile inaccuracies and generalisations. Perhaps it would be better to report births, deaths and marriages and leave it at that.

Of course, the hubris doesn’t end there.

[dropshadowbox]… as the biggest circulating newspaper in the Mid West, it had an unparalleled reputation for promoting racial equality and integration in the region.[/dropshadowbox]

Translated into English, this means …

Well, actually this means absolutely nothing. This is simply huffing and puffing. A capable sub-editor would have been able to point this out, but of course, in the times we live in, professionals are expensive.

The real meat of the editorial comes in the following shifty paragraph:

[dropshadowbox]We stand by our report in last week’s edition in which we gave voice to an immigrant worker in a Limerick direct provision centre who expressed his concerns about increased radicalisation among young men in the centre. He claimed that staff were subjected to physical attacks and mental abuse by gangs of radical young Muslim men.[/dropshadowbox]

Of course, this isn’t what was complained about at all, as we’ll see shortly.

What the Post actually reported had little to do with conditions in the asylum centre. What they actually reported was this anonymous character’s uncorroborated opinions about immigrants in general. What the Limerick Post printed was, in reality, a shabby ill-researched pastiche of a standard Daily Mail article, recast to suit consumers of a free advertising sheet.

The current editorial is a classic example of the techniques used by schoolyard bullies for generations when confronted with their own actions.

Deny. Deny. Deny.

I have no idea who the person is behind that editorial, but the attitude is certainly that of the overbearing schoolyard bully who can’t cope with being confronted. And of course, the classic behaviour of confronted bullies is to present themselves as the victims:

[dropshadowbox]We abhor efforts by Doras Luimni to try to silence the dissenting voice of a vulnerable immigrant worker and their attempts to stifle editorial expression by the Limerick Post. We will spare no effort to defend our commercial and reputational interests in the face of an orchestrated social media campaign that is designed to stifle the very concept of freedom of the press.[/dropshadowbox]

There you have it.  An organisation that defends immigrants is oppressing them, and the Limerick Post is the victim of an orchestrated social media campaign. What grade of self-pity is that? What level of paranoia, or perhaps arrogance, could prompt such a pathetic statement?

Moving on, let’s take a look at the original Limerick Post article that caused such distress.

It opens as follows:

[dropshadowbox]A man working in a Limerick refugee centre claims that staff have been subjected to physical attacks and mental abuse by individuals and gangs of radical Muslim men living in the centre.[/dropshadowbox]

Well and good. So far, the article is all about the asylum centre, even though the individual is not identified. Naturally, nobody would expect him to be identified, given the sensitivity of the subject, but the article also fails to provide a corroborating source for any of the quotes that follow. We are invited to accept that a series of statements by an anonymous individual, without supporting evidence, is true.

The man, described as of Middle Eastern origin, yet oddly assigned the pseudonym Ivan, has much to say. He has lived in Ireland for ten years and apparently approached the Limerick Post which no doubt he saw as a far more powerful organ than the Indo, the Irish Times, the Mirror or even the Leader.

In typical Middle-Eastern language, Ivan described what he saw as a worsening situation.

[dropshadowbox]I have dealt with these people personally and have had a lot of conversations with them in relation to their personal life, social life and religious beliefs. In some of them I have found a worrying level of extremism, bordering on hatred, which could potentially manifest in some sort of devastating way, as their numbers will continue to rise.[/dropshadowbox]

A Middle-Eastern man who sounds exactly like Nigel Farage is a remarkable thing.

I don’t have a problem with their religion or the background they come from, but we need to face facts, Ivan adds, which hardly comes as a shock since Ivan presumably has the same religion and background. On the other hand, of course, maybe it isn’t so surprising for a man whose language patterns have morphed so drastically from Arabic to tabloid-speak.

Moving on. It’s at this point that the Limerick Post segues from the particular to the general. Now we’re reading about things that Ivan the Arab can’t possibly know.

[dropshadowbox]There are cheaters in the direct provisional system getting protection and privileges that they don’t deserve and that should be a big concern. Obviously not everyone who has immigrated to Ireland can be painted with the same brush, but we must be careful of the wolves among the sheep.[/dropshadowbox]

This is a statement so crass that it hardly counts as journalism. Of course there are cheaters. Where there are human beings there is cheating. No Pulitzer Prize for the person who wrote this article.

This is where the Limerick Post goes into full Identity Ireland mode.

[dropshadowbox]‘Ivan’ claims all direct provisional centres in Limerick are full, and in some cases beyond capacity, as a result of the EU migrant crisis and the new immigration policy in the UK.[/dropshadowbox]

No.

This is simply untrue.

Ireland has taken almost nobody in as a result of the migrant crisis. This is plain, old-fashioned scaremongering and the Limerick Post knows it, which is why they are now engaged in such pompous, self-pitying huff and puff. Bullies hate it when they’re caught out.

[dropshadowbox]I have come to understand that the goings on in direct provisional centres are quite different from what mass media and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are reporting. Radical minded economic migrants, who are mostly students and workers, have filled up a large number of vacancies within the direct provisional system”.

‘Ivan’ says that many have breached their UK visa conditions and taken advantage of the open border from Northern Ireland.[/dropshadowbox]

Ivan knows no such thing.

Ivan, if he exists at all, is a worker in a single centre in Limerick.

This is guff printed by the Limerick Post because it sounds good, and sadly, it’s dangerous guff. Dangerous, ignorant nonsense that gives comfort to the racist extremists among us.

Ivan, apparently, has access to people’s medical records: I have come across people who visit GP’s for silly things such as blisters around their nails, and take advantage of what I believe is a system with many flaws.

Ivan, who of course doesn’t speak anything like a Daily Mail reporter said:

[dropshadowbox]… the Department of Justice is aware that many migrants who cheat the system in Ireland have arrived from the UK.

Why haven’t they taken any measures to deport them back to the country where they first came from? A ‘no nonsense’ stance from the Irish government will see the people who need asylum the most afforded the opportunity.[/dropshadowbox]

A no-nonsense stance. Isn’t that exactly what you’d expect an Arab asylum worker to demand? Of course it is.

Not to mention a right-wing rabble-rousing free rag with a bullying mentality and an inability to deal with criticism.

Ivan the imaginary Arab.

We await with interest the outcome of Doras Luimní’s complaint to an Garda Síochána.

_________________

Elsewhere

Limerick  Leader: “Far-right resonance”

Irish Refugee Council

 

  33 Responses to “The Limerick Post and anti-immigrant scaremongering”

Comments (33)
  1.  

    Excellent piece! Thanks and shared!

  2.  

    The Limerick Post is generally fair in its reporting and its reporters have a good record of taking the concerns of ordinary people seriously. But this article can’t be defended and it is silly of the Post to try.

  3.  

    there is no such thing then as Muslim radicalization then? the 7/7 attacks, the Paris attacks the Belgium attacks were not carried out by radical Muslims who were citizens if those respected countries? lets be PC about this ignore the facts as they might offend

  4.  

    Nobody said any of that. Don’t be a damned idiot.

  5.  

    The Limerick post describes itself as a ‘trendy tabloid’. It seeks a response to sensationalism. It has succeeded!

  6.  

    yes bock. deny deny deny there is something to this story big time. well done to the Limerick Post for defending themselves against this bunch of do gooders.

  7.  

    Do-gooders.

    Are you happier with do-badders?

  8.  

    If Identity Ireland held meetings in the back room of Direct Provision centres, this is what the speeches would sound like. They’re fooling no one, the best thing the Limerick Post can do is to retract that article before their whole case for publishing and defending it falls apart.

  9.  

    They have already dismantled their own credibility with that ludicrous editorial.

    It seems the Limerick Post fails to understand that huffing and puffing is not the same thing as logical argument.

  10.  

    Nice deflection Bock. But typical.

  11.  

    ” In some of them I have found a worrying level of extremism, bordering on hatred, which could potentially manifest in some sort of devastating way, as their numbers will continue to rise.”

    Awful stuff.

    I hope the Guards take this seriously as there’s talk of staff being physically attacked.

    Incredibly cynical and divisive article. It would only appeal to the dumbest of the dumb.

    As for the response defending it? What a joke. As if the original article wasn’t enough of an insult to any thinking person’s intelligence.. Do they think we came down in the last shower altogether? Go away out of it. If you ever needed proof that liars are usually a bit on the dumb side, there you have it.. they’re as thick as two shites if they think people believe any of this.

    Bigoted and stupid.. stick to the ads lads.

  12.  

    What if it turns out to be true? Will we be getting a retraction?

  13.  

    If what turns out to be true?

  14.  

    The same problems happened in Sweden and it was only until a woman worker in one centre was stabbed to death in work that the Swedish people and government woke up and have now changed there open door policy and this year expect to deport thousands out of sweden.
    Fourty Irish passport holders have left this country to fight for Isis,these are been monitored by authorities,what happens when these return.We except these people in to our country.We give them an opportunity of a normal life,however if they can’t conduct themselves while awaiting to be processed,DEPORT THEM.Even a stray dog dosent bite the hand that feeds them.Concern yourself with Irish People and the potential impact on them.

  15.  

    Why does the person who wrote this identify themselves?

  16.  

    There is a lot unresearched stuff about Sweden and Asylum Seekers. Total lies mostly. It is rarely mentioned that most asylum seekers over there have their applications sorted in 3 months. The average amount of time spent in direct provision here in Ireland is 3 years and 8 months. For many people, their wait far exceeds this time; 1,600 people have spent five years or more in the system and 600 people have spent in excess of seven years in the system.

  17.  

    We can already see the Britain First people lining up to make comments on this post. Expect the Union Jacks soon.

  18.  

    This article is the purest shite i have heard in a while ! Unless the writer can prove what was reported in the Limerick Post is untrue then this article pure posturing at it’s very worst ! What was reported happened ! Simples!

  19.  

    Clearly taken from the Britain First manual of propaganda.

    The responsibility is on the Limerick Post to support what they said. Not the other way around.

    Otherwise, anyone could claim any old nonsense and get away with it. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

  20.  

    Who ever heard of radicalised Muslims anyway…….

    Any truth in the rumour that The Post is advertising for cartoonists.

    “NOT having at least ten years experience depicting the Prophet Mo is essential.”

    In Germany, according to reports, police are warning “men of Arabic appearance” – Jews or Hindus obviously, I think, possibly Buddhists or Christians, Yazidis? Hmmmmm, wonder who they could be? – not to grope women.

    “Nein gropen zee boob,” insisted a German cop, yesterday.

  21.  

    Luckily for us, Christians and atheists never grope women.

  22.  

    True, and definitely not in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

  23.  

    Well, if we look at the revised police figures, it turns out that reporting was a crock of shit too.

  24.  

    Paper never refused ink.

  25.  

    I was pondering how to wade into this when the Post itself provided the means.

    “This quickly escalated into a call for the editor’s resignation and the castigation of the reporter who wrote the story. Most of these demands were made by people whose social media profiles indicated that they are in permanent, pensionable jobs and are never likely to face the prospect of unemployment or consequence for their own professional performance”

    Ooooo…those dastardly rotters with the fancy social media profiles. How very dare they challenge a newspaper?

    The LP should welcome the scrutiny. It’s called journalistic integrity or summat.

  26.  

    Bock sees story that shows not all immigrants are whiter than white. Bock beong a PC leftist gets annoyed. Invokes Britain First and mentions “Union Jacks”. Idiot.

  27.  

    Well said Bock

  28.  

    Now, I didn’t want to get involved in immigrant discussions in Ireland anywhere on the web. I’m an immigrant myself in this country and I was involved way back with immigrants in my own country in a bad and a good way. Aren’t we all immigrants somewhere? And aren’t there unsavoury and lovely people in any country? Shall I go on what I think about Irish scumbags and Irish lovelies? Violence? No?

    Anyway, having been a journalist myself and being trained as such I made the effort to read (online) the incriminated articles in the Limerick Post myself not just the quotes here mentioned (I’m out of the distribution area of this paper, so it was an effort).
    Further on I asked directly a senior member of staff about the background. Yes. I did research, not picking quotes for an agenda. And I’m pushy that way. And skilfull in my (former) line of job. That’s what you do before you get all upset. It’s called proper journalism and honest reporting.

    Now the wording of theses articles might be a bit awkward, as it might be of young members of staff, though nothing wrong with it. But young members are supervised by editors as it happened in this case.

    The wording is the same tiptoing as in any Irish news reporting: quote, don’t insult anyone, keep to the facts you get from the guards (and just in case the priest and the lawyers) and make the best of it without being sued or being bullied by online-warriors.
    But keep the evidence, just in case. Because of repercussions and such like. The usual Irish newspaper reading. Nothing new, keep moving.

    The facts, as far I can rely on my sources (in this case I do), were correct. The reaction online and the repercussions are despicable, though.

    I won’t mention the ongoings in these retention centres. I’ve never visited one, so I can’t judge. I won’t mention those people or their religious or political persuasions or their social situations who ended up in Ireland for what reasons ever. They are people.
    And I won’t discuss left or right wing in this post. Or good- or bad-dooers. As mentioned above there are scumbags and genuinely nice people everywhere.
    As far as I understood the original post that was not the subject anyway.

    As a side thought: Being detentioned without any rights wouldn’t it make you aggressive? Imagine sharing a cell as an Irish republican with an UFF fighter. Just saying.

    Anyway and again:
    Did anyone commenting here ever read the articles? Probably not.

    Did anyone use any negative reporting about immigrants to serve their own agenda? Or verse visa? Probably yes
    .
    But as far as I understood, the original Bock-post is about a local paper daring to have an opinion.

    What’s wrong with that? Are you all only after the latest local gossip? Then go out and off your keyboard and talk to people. Or would you like to know more about what’s going on in your wider parish? Then read the local rag.

    And about local rags: I love them because they give a local colour to any county. Not only the latest special offers of your hardware shop, but what’s going on in your locality. And believe or not, the locals sometimes think beyond the cattle prices or the latest prices for shovels.

    Fair play to the Limerick Post and when they dare to be controversial and opinionated the better. It’s democracy after all. And besides, we all love a bit of gossip and controversy.
    Unlike the commentators who are all outraged by clicking on to half-witted information to enforce their own agenda. Yes, I’m talking to you, who use this post to get all excited to push your agenda without knowing anything.

    Will you ever learn to think and research for yourself?

  29.  

    Carry, did your research reveal to you that the the paper is not, in fact, criticised here for having an opinion?

    And did you find the response of human rights group Doras Luimní despicable also?

  30.  

    This all sounds like a pub conversation to me that got turned in to an article

  31.  

    “Anyway, having been a journalist myself and being trained as such I made the effort to read (online) the incriminated articles in the Limerick Post myself not just the quotes here mentioned”

    What’s being a formal journalist got to do with looking up the article in the Limerick Post?
    Are you having a laugh, going for an Inspector Clouseau joke or something? I was waiting on a punchline there somewhere..

    “Did anyone commenting here ever read the articles? Probably not.
    Will you ever learn to think and research for yourself?”

    No, I guess not.. if only I was a skillful journalist with two degrees, writing in the tranquil setting of my lovely cottage.. lol You aren’t half full of shite sometimes Carry. I do enjoy your ramblings like.. Just saying.

  32.  

    The issue with articles such as the post published (and the shite Donald Trump spouts) is it allows us to lump all the refugees in to one amorphous and dangerous group. The focus is on what ‘they’ can take from us and the hatred can be dressed up as patriotism.
    If only we could see the individuals instead, feel empathy for people who have been bombed out of their homes and cast aside by the world. Perhaps then they would be treated with humanity.
    I’ve just returned from working at the camps in Greece, they are desperate, hopeless and just like us. I would love for anyone of these anti-immigrant bigots to go there and speak to them, meet them at a human level and hear their stories. They just want a chance at a life.

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