Witness rejects suggestion of inconsistencies in record

Ian Bailey rejected suggestion by counsel for the State, Luán Ó Braonáin, that the samples of his work provided were inconsistent with his claims of having a “serious track record” in journalism since the 1970s.

There was other material and, until he came to Ireland, he was making a living as a self-employed journalist, he said. He agreed that he had not substantiated his claim of having earned about stg£30,000 in 1982. He said he earned substantial sums from national newspapers, and lesser sums from other media all mounted up that year.

Asked whether an article in which he described peace activists in England being “ambushed” by “the forces of law and order” represented his own view, he said his sympathies “are always with people who are victims and underdogs”.

He said he came to Ireland in 1991 “to get away from the rat race”. Asked whether he had debts then, he said he may have had following his divorce, but denied these were some “tens of thousands”.

He got a job on a farm in Waterford scaring crows, and later went to West Cork where he got a job in a fish factory in Schull but had not intended to misrepresent that came with a house. He agreed he was on welfare benefit and community employment schemes for a number of periods between 1992 and 1996, but denied this was inconsistent with his claim of a continuous career in journalism.

He was helping his partner Jules Thomas with murals she was painting, writing about local things, and would go to music sessions where he played the bodhrán if musicians were happy for him to do so.

“It was a happy time,” he said.

Asked did he take a drink, he said he did and did enjoy it. Asked did drink “suit” him, he said certain drinks did not.

He said he decided in 1995 to return to full-time journalism and denied counsel’s suggestion the model of operation he intended to follow was not realistic for West Cork.

He agreed he was probably mistaken to have said he was aged 14 when he read a book about the Watergate spying scandal, after counsel told him the book, All The President’s Men, by Carl Bernstein and Boob Woodward, was not published until 1974. That meant Mr Bailey must have been 17 or 18 when he read it and not about 14 as he told the jury last week, counsel said.

Mr Bailey said he must have been mistaken about his age but he read the book and it had “inspired me” to pursue a career in journalism.

The case continues before Mr Justice John Hedigan and a jury.


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