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George Hook: I'll quit if Denis O'Brien is convicted of malfeasance

Hook on tribunals, media ownership and Rupert Murdoch…

Image: TV3

IN A PASSIONATE decry of Ireland’s tribunals, George Hook told Vincent Brown last night that they “have been nothing but a reason to fill newspaper space”.

Speaking on TV3′s Tonight with Vincent Browne, Hook questioned the value tribunals offer to the public as have no grounding in law.

Asked about the Moriarty Report and its inferences to his boss Denis O’Brien and controversial TD Michael Lowry, the radio and television commentator repeated that tribunals have no grounding in legal fact.

If Denis O’Brien is convicted in a court of malfeasance or financial irregularity, I will resign forthwith from any organisation owned by him.

Before making his opening statements on the programme, Hook identified himself as Browne’s “patsy”, predicting lots of “rolled eyes and sighs” once his boss’s name was mentioned.

“What I find strange about the whole thing is that as soon as we mention the name of O’Brien, we are told we are willing to say anything,” he added.

Discussing the tussle between O’Brien and Tony O’Reilly for control of Independent News and Media, Hook described the pair as two of Ireland’s greatest businessmen.

However, he said the power struggle had only led to losses for INM shareholders who had suffered monetarily because of the diving price of shares.

Adding to the debate about media ownership, Hook said he believes the “real problem” lies with failure of media regulators.

We wouldn’t have a discussion about media ownership and any person’s power if this country had firm and strong regulation in terms of ownership. As long as somebody can buy a newspaper or radio with impunity, they will do it.

Throughout the programme, the Newstalk presenter continued to question Rupert Murdoch’s involvement in newspapers in Ireland.

“Why do journalists of such great integrity not turn around and say they will not work for an organisation that hacks into people’s emails?” he asked.

Read: Dunphy, Hook, Smyth, O’Brien and Byrne – the Twitter war>

Watch: Tonight with Vincent Browne from 16 April>

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