September will mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of journalist Martin O’Hagan. He was shot as he and his wife Marie walked home from a Lurgan pub on a Friday night. As he was shot O’Hagan identified an attacker yet no-one has been charged with that murder.
In two months’ time, the death of another North of Ireland journalist will be marked. Lyra McKee was shot during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on April 18, 2019. She was just 29 and subsequent legal actions continue.
Those frightening precedents made it impossible to ignore death threats made against a member of the BBC team who produced a documentary on Daniel Kinahan which was broadcast just a week ago.
The journalist and his family were forced to leave their home and are being provided with security by the PSNI. Police informed him of the active threat to his life last week after the documentary detailed Daniel Kinahan’s ties with organised crime and the pivotal role he plays in global boxing’s biggest fights. Kinahan’s role in arranging the bout between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua led to an outcry in June when the issue was raised in the Dáil and the House of Commons.
Kinahan’s lawyers told BBC Panorama he has no criminal convictions and that allegations about him controlling a violent cartel are false and have no evidential basis whatsoever. That 18 people have died in the Hutch/Kinahan crime feud since 2015 may, however, influence how many people view that denial.
This sinister, evil threat raises many questions one of which focuses on our national public service broadcaster RTÉ — why did they not produce this sobering reality check? Another question must consider the complicity of those who, through pay-per-view TV subscriptions, support the enterprises at the very centre of this story.
In December, the international organisation Reporters Without Borders recorded that 50 journalists were killed because of their work in 2020.
It would be a grave misjudgement to underestimate this evil, criminal threat as it attacks one of the foundations of our way of life. A forceful response is necessary.