THE NATIONAL UNION of Journalists (NUJ) has expressed its support for former Irish Independent journalist Gemma O’Doherty after her exit from the newspaper.
O’Doherty was the only journalist at the Independent to be made compulsorily redundant and an article in this month’s edition of The Phoenix suggested it may be connected to an incident in which she approached the home of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
The journalist questioned Callinan’s wife about penalty points being wiped from his record and the article said editorial staff at the paper were “appalled” at her behaviour.
Fr Niall Molloy
O’Doherty is best known for her investigation of the death of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985, writing a number of articles alleging a possible cover-up by gardaí and some members of the political establishment at the time.
Since her dismissal from the Independent, Molloy’s relatives and family members of other victims who feel justice has not been served in relation to conclusions about his death, have taken up her case, protesting outside the newspaper’s offices in Dublin earlier this month and yesterday.
(Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)
A letter written by campaigners to editor-in-chief of the newspaper Stephen Rae, published in full by The Guardian, expressed “disbelief” at the move.
Gemma is a reporter of the highest professionalism and integrity, who has done huge service for her country, and her newspaper, through her work in exposing injustice and garda corruption.
“As Irish citizens we see her dismissal as nothing less than a grotesque attack on press freedom, human rights and democracy,” it said.
The letter was signed by a number of people, including Liz Molloy, the niece of the late Fr Niall Molloy.
‘Unfair and unjust’
Seamus Dooley, secretary of the National Union of Journalists, told TheJournal.ie that the union views O’Doherty’s redundancy “as an unfair and unjust dismissal”.
“The NUJ chapel at Independent Newspapers passed a motion last month reaffirming total opposition to the imposition of any compulsory redundancy,” he said.
Senator John Gilroy also raised the issue in the Seanad today, telling his colleagues it should raise concerns for all diplomats “when an investigative journalist of Ms O’Doherty’s standing has been sacked”.
A spokesperson for Independent News & Media did not respond to a request for comment. When contacted by TheJournal.ie, Gemma O’Doherty declined to comment “for legal reasons”.