Mr World Challenges Mr Underworld – Kamal Ibrahim vs Donal MacIntyre

There’s no point rehearsing the dispiriting litany of journalists falling back on the tired old Limerick cliché as a substitute for proper investigation, and besides, it’s too depressing.  After all, we’re dealing with a fairly tattered flock of carrion feeders perched on that dead tree-branch, and pickings in Limerick are getting leaner by the day.

As the old vulture joke went, Patience my ass.  I’m gonna kill something, and that’s exactly what the increasingly desperate journalistic feathery ones are doing of late.  I hate to mix metaphors, but these vultures are one-trick ponies, and the Limerick story was the greatest gift a journalistic scavenger could ever have hoped for.  It was a step up from knocking on the doors of suicide victims’ families looking for a communion photo, and it had the veneer of being slightly more respectable, especially if you presented yourself as a gritty, fearless investigator, outraged at the behaviour of lowlife scumbags and determined to face them down.

Everyone’s a winner.

Your public is titillated.  The editor is delighted.  Your inner Walter Mitty (who might also be your outer Walter Mitty) is having an orgasm. The only loser is the truth, but that was never a hugely valuable commodity in tabloid-style reporting, on paper or on TV.

Of course, there is an honourable history of journalists as participants, all the way from Sean Flynn to Hunter S Thompson, but I’m afraid these three tattered carrion birds don’t fit that frame.  These boys are all about the self publicity and that’s why TV3 decided, yet again, to send Donal MacIntyre to Limerick, even though there’s no major crime, no killings and the scumbags who led the troublesome gangs are all in jail.  How odd they didn’t send him six months earlier, when Limerick was at the height of its City of Culture triumph.

Now here comes TV3 with an unnerving and sinister droning subliminal soundtrack going on beneath whatever trite, meaningless clichés he repeats, with video of feral children riding horses, just as they broadcast stock footage of Dublin car thieves last time they did a similar programme on Limerick.

Local man, Kamal Ibrahim, wrote an impassioned defence of Limerick, incorporating some of my own words, and debated with Donal MacIntyre on Liveline.  As a man who was born and bred in Limerick, who grew up here, studied here and had his entire being in Limerick, the former Mr World is well placed to challenge the former Mr Underworld.

Here’s what Kamal wrote:

Right, So I have a real f**king problem with this! (and If you’re from Limerick you should too).

Take if from someone in the business that actually knows!

TV3 have lost hundreds of hours of programming to UTV Ireland and are scrambling to create new shows to attract and retain their audiences. They’ve tried game shows like CrossFire and The Lie (which I myself did a screen test for). They’re launching a new Soap, Red Rock and are working very hard to develop programming that people will actually watch because shows like X-factor which still airs on the network will no longer be on TV3 by 2016, so yes, they have A LOT to be concerned about.

There are many talented people working at TV3 and over the years I have been lucky enough to get to know and become friends with many of them.

That said, I can’t say that I’ve ever been so pissed off at an entity in my life.

I just saw the teaser TV3 released on Donal MacIntyre’s ‘new’ documentary and I’m furious!

I just got back from spending Christmas in Limerick, my hometown. The place I grew up, went to school, got my first job, my first kiss, where I still have my friends and my family, the place that gave me the start in my career.

It was my intention, as it was for all of you in Limerick, to start 2015 with a positive outlook, despite all the doom, gloom & heartache that we (and everyone else) have to deal with, ironically, caused by all the ruling parties in DUBLIN. And staying in Dublin we can turn our attention to TV3 and the worlds laziest ‘investigative journalist’ Donal MacIntyre who, as is evident by this short clip, is also struggling to find worthy, relevant content to put on Irish television.

First, Donal made documentaries like Gangland Limerick, which used inaccurate statistics to dramatize the show. But I tolerated it. It was about all the crime in Limerick, the gangs and the headlines that it made.

Now, Donal has made another dramatic looking documentary also about limerick. But this time its not because of the crime or the gangs and the headlines, this time its about the LACK OF ALL THE ABOVE!

I feel like standing two inches in front of his face and shouting at the top of my voice to ‘F**k o** back to England and stop bullying Limerick.

This bullshit documentary commissioned by TV3 has a direct impact on the people of Limerick and more importantly, EVERYONE ELSE, especially those who have never been to Limerick before and Donal knows it. He also knows he would never get away with making something like this in the UK because he’d be sacked.

I work in television and I’ve sent TV3 a handful of fun, energetic, positive ideas for shows that could attract a primetime audience, written by me and my friends FROM LIMERICK.

But instead they’ve commissioned a ‘budget friendly’ programme that does nothing but degrade, humiliate and denounce my city and people of that city, a city I don’t recognize as the town that’s home to the World Music Centre, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Munster Rugby, one of the worlds best sports & educational facilities at the University of Limerick, home to Paul O’Connel, Richard Harris, The Cranberries, Terry Wogan, Michael D Higgins, Peter Clohessy, Seán South, Michael Colivet, Willie O’Dea, Frank McCourt, Celia Holman Lee, The Rubberbandits and many, many, many others.

I don’t recognize the place where the creative people I know play music and perform theatre and laugh and tell jokes and cook and eat and make love and swim and fish and play sports and enjoy life. I don’t recognize that because that is not what I see when the story is told from the point of view of a faux-investigative television journalist.

Congratulations Mr MacIntyre because you’ve ticked one of the boxes when it comes to a ‘good TV idea’ – entice a strong public reaction.

But I suppose we should remember that when it comes to the business of television, it’s far cheaper to recycle old news than to invest in real stories.

Did anyone notice TV3’s extensive coverage of Royal Deluxe, Fuerza Bruta or Munster rugby?  Eh, that would be a No, Ted, since this kind of vulture journalism is not interested in good news.

Why do I care?  You might well ask and you’d be right to ask.  Why do I care what any bad journalist says?

Simple.  People believe this sort of nonsense.  It scares people away from our town.  It hurts us and it damages us.  It harms our lives and it harms our children, all to satisfy the dysfunctional needs of certain journalists and their editors.

That’s why we need to confront such nonsense whenever it crops up.

Enough of this shit.  We can’t let ourselves be defined forever by carrion birds.




Paul Williams: New journalism, old journalism and downright bad journalism

Donal MacIntyre, Laziest Journalist in Ireland