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LUCAN: Fine Gael condemns actions of Derek Keating's parliamentary assistant
 
These images show Fine Gael TD Derek Keating's political advisor Tommy Morris removing copies of the Lucan Gazette from three separate outlets on Thursday, May 2 at 3.25pm (far left) and Friday, May 3 at 8.50am (centre) and 8.57am (far right)

A Garda investigation is under way after thousands of copies of the Lucan Gazette were removed from stores last week.

The pictures above show Tommy Morris, parliamentary assistant to Fine Gael’s Derek Keating TD, who was captured on CCTV, taking substantial numbers of Lucan Gazettes from different stores during last Thursday and Friday.

The paper’s distribution staff believe that over 3,000 copies were taken across Lucan, including the Village, Ballyowen, Hillcrest, Dodsboro and Griffeen Valley.

The Lucan Gazette contained a front page story in which Griffeen Valley Educate Together NS principal Tomas O’Dulaing criticised Deputy Keating for claiming to have “initiated and led” the campaign for the extension of the school.

This week Tom Curran, general secretary of Fine Gael, said: “[The party] condemns in the strongest possible terms the actions of Mr Tommy Morris, who is an employee of Derek Keating TD, in removing copies of the Lucan Gazette from retail outlets. His actions have no place in politics. We are deeply disappointed by these events.”

Local residents, advertisers and distributors of the paper are angry at the actions. One reader of the publication said: “I looked for the Lucan Gazette on several days in Marks and Spencer and I couldn’t find it there. This is censorship and it smacks of underhandedness.

“They should let people read what they want. If I had advertised this week I would have been incensed.”

Gazette managing director Michael McGovern said: “We will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our brand, the people who read the paper and the people who spend money advertising with us.

“The Gazette is a group of eight papers, with a weekly print-run of more than 40,000 copies. We employ 22 people, as well as freelance and agency workers.

“That someone would attempt to jeopardise their livelihoods in these times is particularly shocking.

“We have sought legal advice, and reported the matter to the Garda. We are determined to ensure that the person or persons responsible are made accountable,” he said.

The Gazette made many attempts to contact Mr Morris, but he had not responded by the time of going to press.

Barry McCall, president, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said it was “astonishing and bizarre behaviour by an individual being paid by the taxpayer”.

He added: “Respect for media freedom is a hallmark of a modern democracy.”

The Gazette NUJ chapel said: “As a local paper, we seek balance in our coverage of all stories and give space to as many points of view as possible.

“We are shocked at the consequences of this course of conduct which, in effect, we believe is an attempt to censor our reporting.”

When asked if he would apologise, Deputy Keating said he had initiated an internal investigation.

Deputy Keating said: “Following legal advice, I am now initiating an internal investigation into these allegations. This internal investigation may lead to disciplinary procedures against Mr Morris.

“I wish to be unequivocal that, at no time, in this alleged incident, did Mr Morris act with my knowledge or consent.”

At the time of going to press, there has been no effort made, nor has any confirmation or undertaking been given, to return the papers to The Gazette and/or not to repeat such conduct.

  26 Responses to “Garda inquiry launched after removal of newspapers”

  1. “I wish to be unequivocal that, at no time, in this alleged incident, did Mr Morris act with my knowledge or consent.”

    “Alleged incident| It’s hardly alleged if it’s a fact caught on camera. So as it’s a real event, does that mean he acted with suggested, “See what you can do” “Make it go away” “I don’t want to know about it” “Sort it” “Can I depend on you” but I didn’t actually tell him in so many words I don’t want my name dragged into this as it was understood between us knowledge and consent….

  2. […] criticism of Deputy Keating for wrongly claiming credit for getting an extension for the school. http://www.gazettegroup.com/news/gar…of-newspapers/ FG has strongly criticised the actions of Mr. Morris. Last edited by Kerrygold; Today at […]

  3. Make him pay for. Re run of the issue and sack him and deputy Keating
    How very disappointing for the Keating family to realise they live with such low low people

  4. […] it seems that one of Derek’s flunkys took issue with this report, and took it upon himself to start removing copies of the freesheet so that Derek’s constituents wouldn’t get to read of his […]

  5. […] have covered it, the Evening Herald has, and of course the Lucan Gazette most certainly has. Considering the pitch a writer could give his editor for this, I’m a little surprised this […]

  6. Shocking behaviour. Banana republic stuff.

  7. Only the people can deal with this and not a political cartel of gardai gudges and politicians

  8. Says it all censorship has become common place on the internet, The media is manipulated and propaganda is everywhere. These are the tools of a Dictatorship not a democracy. Wake up people they are parasites.

  9. Scumbag. Hiding papers wont stop people from finding out the truth about you. You’ve just made the story more public thab it was ever going to be.

  10. Last week we had reports of a Fine Gael member printing and putting about a fictitious version of the Dun Laoghaire Gazette, and this week we learn of another Fine Gael member rounding up and eliminating the real version of the Gazette. What are they at ???
    Has the Fine Gael spin doctoring department now moved into a phase of their own unique version of media manipulation ?

  11. Blueshirts, Blackshirts what’s the difference, next they will be burning books …. and remember what happened the last time that occurred.

  12. Did he pay for them ? If not he should also be charged with theft.This man should not be allowed to decide who can or cannot read this newspaper.

  13. A true deffender of democracy.
    The country needs more men like Mr Morris!and of course Deputy Keating knew nothing about this!
    Did somebody mention Freedom of The Press?

  14. Oops….defender , but Mr Morris will certainly not spot the difference!

  15. This stunt has sensationally backfired on Derek Keating, regardless of whether or not he knew about Tommy Morris’s plan to take the papers. The bad publicity that this action has brought on both of the people involved is a lot more damaging than whatever was in the original front page article about Derek Keating. The Gazette newspaper should hit back strongly by running the front page article again in it’s next edition.

  16. Words fail me!

  17. Question 1:
    TD Keating publicly claims credit for a school extension which he had nothing to do with. TRUE/FALSE

    Question 2:
    TD Keating publicly claims that his assistant collecting 1000s of Lucan Gazettes (because it contained an overwhelmingly unfavourable answer to Q.1 above) was something he had nothing to do with. TRUE/FALSE

  18. The Gazette will have little choice but run the story again in the next issue. If they fail to do so it will send out the message that conduct like this can be gotten away with.

  19. It seems that Derek Keating is one who has to answer all the questions regarding this matter. He should be dismissed from his position in Dail Eireann. Further more, Mr Morris is now the fall guy. Fine Gael found out once again.

  20. Well Mr Tommy Morris was hung out to dry and the paper is there for the people of Lucan to read. Mr Keating says that Mr Morris broke no Law but he could have caused people to lose earnings and in this day who can afford that. Mr Keating would have being better off if he let the people of Lucan read the article and let them judge for themselves. There’s no smoke without fire.

  21. Amazing! I had never heard of Derek Keating before this story broke, now I know everything I need to know. An education for the people of Gulag Lucan.

  22. And yet he was not arrested? I find it strange that CCTV recorded this individual stealing from shops and yet he was not arrested. Shoplifters if caught are arrested and charge with theft and if caught on CCTV are also arrested if their whereabouts are known. Seems that true to Irish style justice there is one rule for them, in this case FG, and one for the other none FG shoplifter.

  23. Fine Gael will probably make Tommy Minister of State for Recycling Newspapers!

  24. That’s “transparency” Fine Gael style for you!!!

  25. […] are nowhere near the seriousness of the recent incident in which the aide to Derek Keating TD dumped several thousand copies of a local freesheet containing a critical story about his […]

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