Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cancellation of Government Advertising.

Tuesday, 18 December 1934

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 54 No. 9

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Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  asked the President if he will state how many newspapers since the establishment of the Government Information Bureau have had Government advertising orders cancelled by Departmental or Government direction; how many have had Government advertising orders withdrawn; how many have been threatened with withdrawal or cancellation of advertisements, the names of the newspapers so affected, the reason for the action taken, and whether any communication has been sent to the newspapers affected stating the reason for the action.

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Since the establishment of the Government Information Bureau in February last the Executive Council has had occasion in one case to take action of the nature referred to by the Deputy.

The circumstances are as follows:—

On the 19th November the Government Information Bureau issued an official denial of a false statement which had been published in the Sunday Independent of the 18th November to the effect that the Seanascal had received an invitation to the wedding of the Duke of Kent and Duchess Marina.

On the 20th November the Irish Independent published the official denial, but added:

“The Irish Independent is, however, in a position to state that an [1502] invitation to attend the Royal Wedding was received by the Governor-General.”

In view of this contradiction of an official statement the Executive Council, on the same day, decided that Government advertisements and facilities for obtaining information from Government Departments should be withheld from all papers published or controlled by Independent Newspapers, Limited, until such time as a specific withdrawal should be published in the Irish Independent and in the Sunday Independent.

A letter to this effect was sent that evening to the Manager of Independent Newspapers, Limited.

On the 27th November, in reply to a letter, the Manager of the firm was informed by letter that the following statement, if published without addition or qualification in a prominent position in the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent, would be regarded by the Government as a satisfactory withdrawal of the false reports which had appeared in those papers:

“The Irish/Sunday Independent had what it believed to be reliable information that an invitation to the Royal Wedding had been sent to the Governor-General. We accept without reserve the statement of the Department of the President that no such invitation has been received by his Excellency.”

On the 30th November an undertaking that this statement would be published as desired was received from the Manager of Independent Newspapers, Limited, and on the same day the prohibition order which had been made in respect of these papers was withdrawn by the Executive Council.

I understand that there was another instance of the type referred to in the Deputy's question, but as action in that case was taken by the Minister for Agriculture, information regarding it should be sought from that Minister.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Does the President deny that advertisements have been withdrawn from papers whose editorials and articles were not favourable [1503] to some of the Government schemes, say to the wheat scheme?

Mr. Donnelly: Information on Eamonn Donnelly  Zoom on Eamonn Donnelly  Will the President say if he has any information at his disposal regarding the action which was taken by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government during its régime, withdrawing advertisements from the Derry Journal and the Irish Press, and if he knows what the reasons were?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That question does not arise.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I asked the President if he would state how many newspapers have had these advertisements withheld from them. Will the President deny that advertisements in connection with the wheat scheme have been withheld from papers in this country because they had independent views on wheat and wheat growing and expressed those views in the columns of their papers?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I have already indicated to the Deputy that the Executive Council has had occasion to take action in one case. Other action such as is suggested by the Deputy was taken by the Minister for Agriculture, and, as I mentioned in my reply, information regarding it should be sought from that Minister.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Does the President mean by one case, a case in connection with the wheat scheme or in connection with the butter scheme?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I mean exactly what I have said. There was one other instance of the type referred to. That is the information that was supplied to me.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Does the President, who is responsible for the Information Bureau, not take an interest in what is done in connection with other Departments?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I take an interest in what is done by all Departments, but there are certain duties performed by certain Ministers who are responsible to the House in connection with those duties, and I have indicated to the [1504] Deputy that information with regard to the schemes he has mentioned ought to be sought from one particular Minister.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Are we to take it that before the House rises for the Christmas recess Deputies will not have an opportunity of getting from other Ministers any information with regard to advertisements that have been withheld from the Press?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  The Deputy had plenty of time at his disposal to ask those questions of other Ministers.

Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The Deputy's question will be answered to-morrow.


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