Letter to the Editor: Readers can make their own minds up

I want to thank Michael Clifford for his caustic, abusive and deeply personalised review of my new book Frenzy and Betrayal. In a single article he starkly illustrated an important issue my book addresses which undermines trust in Irish journalism — the incapacity of some journalists to reassess false narratives in which they are heavily invested and the tendency to contemptuously reject any challenge to such narratives.

Michael Clifford was an enthusiastic advocate of false stories that GSOC was under surveillance by the gardaí, that as minister for justice i was involved in covering up gardaí failures and that I ignored Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s concerns. He was wrong.

The Cooke Report (June 2014) established the GSOC story to be nonsense and the O’Higgins Report ( May 2016) concluded that I dealt properly, appropriately and with personal concern with issues raised by Maurice McCabe.

Frenzy and Betrayal also addresses important aspects of the ticket charge/ penalty points controversy omitted from Michael Clifford’s various writings and broadcasts on the issue.

Unfortunately, Clifford has a difficulty in acknowledging he got some things wrong and resents his selective version of events being factually challenged.

In Frenzy and Betrayal I write that we live in an age in which beliefs and opinions are too frequently afforded greater credibility and prominence than truth and objective incontrovertible facts.

Clifford in his reviews tudiously avoids any facts that could contaminate his invective.He critically and contemptuously writes that Frenzy and Betrayal does not contain “rigorous self analysis”.

Is this an instance of the pot calling the kettle black?

Tom Crosbie wrote in July 2018 that “a free press is about ensuring the public are fully and honestly informed, so that they can make their own decisions, whatever they may be”.

I hope your readers are given the opportunity to read this response to Clifford’s egregious and self interested commentary.

Those who read Frenzy and Betrayal will make their own decisions on the accuracy and fairness of Clifford’s deeply flawed depiction of both the book and of it’s author.

- Alan Shatter

Delbrook Manor

Dublin 16

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