Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Government Information Services.

Tuesday, 14 March 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 304 No. 9

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[1381]1.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  asked the Taoiseach (a) if he has seen a report (details supplied) attributing to the head of the Government Information Services a statement about the proportion of truth which the services might be permitted to tell at one time; (b) whether he approves the attitude on the part of the head of the Government Information Services which this statement reflects; and (c) if so, whether he will at least direct the head of the Government Information Services to indicate when he is releasing information according to this formula.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I have seen the report to which the Deputy refers.

The Government Information Services issue the information which they are authorised to issue from time to time by the responsible Minister.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  I was hoping the Taoiseach would give a little more enlightenment than that. Would the Taoiseach not accept this was a peculiarly unfortunate form of words for the official concerned to use on the very day he was lecturing the British press on their bias and lack of objectivity?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  The Deputy seems to be getting upset about something that seems to me to be rather trivial.

[1382] The person concerned spoke at a debate following which he was approached by journalists and made the comment of which the Deputy complains. I do not think there is anything seriously wrong with the comment he made.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  Would the Taoiseach not accept that the form the words is open to an interpretation which is extremely unfortunate particularly on the very day he was attacking the British press, and with some justice in my view, for the way they treat Irish news, giving them the excuse to believe that whatever they are getting here officially may not be the whole truth.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Question No. 2.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I do not accept that at all. We may not tell lies and we may not always be permitted to tell all the truth at the one time. To what does the Deputy take exception?

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  What I want to try to get from the Taoiseach is an admission that this was a very unfortunate form of words to use vis-á-vis a press corps like the British who will seize on this in order to justify themselves in not accepting the Government Information Services good faith in the future?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I must say I cannot see the purpose at all of the Deputy's supplementary question.


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