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The Phoenix on Shell's spin machine

The Phoenix Magazine

Shell PR supremo John Egan will be pleased to note that his energetic efforts to silence The Irish Times over the Corrib pipe line have finally paid off.  When he was a BBC reporter, Egan exposed the dirty dealings of Shell in Nigeria, but now he is paid by Shell to put their case against local protesters.

A recent conference organised by Afri and actor Donal O'Kelly in Seanscoil Ceathrú Thaidhg, Mayo, entitled Airing Erris: Media Coverage of Corrib, heard former, long-time RTE producer Betty Purcell describe Egan's MO when she made a program on the pipe line.  She described how Egan bombarded RTE management with horror stories about her program on the gas line protest being made "in collusion with some very dangerous elements".  Purcell claimed that she and her team had to fight tooth and nail to get the program aired without it being hollowed out by Egan's pressure.  The conference also heard Mid-West Radio journalist Liamy McNally tell of similar pressure from Egan on his station boss.

Audience members familiar with Shell's PR operation may have read stories in The Phoenix about how former IT editor Geraldine Kennedy stood up to this pressure, despite Egan going over her head to the board of Irish Times Ltd (see The Phoenix 20/4/07.

The meeting was certainly pleased to hear journalist Áine Ryan inform attendees that she was there working on a job for the IT, confident that their voice would, for a change, be heard in the media.

How strange then that the newspaper of record failed to publish Ryan's report.  Was Madam editor, Geraldine Kennedy, made of sterner stuff than her successor, Kevin O'Sullivan?

Posted Date: 
30 January 2014