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Irish Independent removes quotes from abortion article after manipulation claim

Recording showed difference

The Irish Independent has amended a recent article, written by journalist Ellen Coyne, after Gript revealed that quotes attributed to a Ms Antoinette Fitzgibbon did not accurately reflect the conversation Ms Fitzgibbon had with Coyne.

Fitzgibbon told Gript that she felt Coyne had taken what she had said and “twisted and manipulated it, to make it appear to be something else.

Despite Gript breaking the news on Saturday afternoon, with it becoming a topic of conversation amongst staff at the Independent shortly thereafter, it was only today, after Gript reached out directly to Cormac Bourke, Editor of the Irish Independent, that the story was amended.

In her article Coyne attributed the following quote to Fitzgibbon, “If Wednesday happens to be the day that they do the abortions, then it’s divine providence that that’s the day that we happen to be there. And I should say, it’s a good kind of divine providence,” Ms Fitzgibbon said. “And I have a feeling Wednesday will continue to be the day that we are there.”

The recording heard by Gript shows the actual quote given was “If Wednesday happens to be the day when abortions are carried out, I’m afraid you’ll have to call it divine providence because I can put my hand on my heart and say that I knew nothing about it anyway if that is the given day when abortions are carried out. And if it is the case, I’m sorry to say I would consider it a good divine providence that we’re there in solidarity with those who are being thrown away.”

The second part of the quote attributed to Fitzgibbon, “And I have a feeling Wednesday will continue to be the day that we are there,” was simply not said by Fitzgibbon during her conversation with Coyne.

The Independent confirmed to Gript that they had “amended the wording of certain comments attributed to Ms Fitzgibbon,” although it might be more correct to say that they removed the disputed comments attributed to Fitzgibbon, nearly in their entirety, from the article. The Independent added that it stood over the substance of the article.

The article has been amended to remove nearly the entirety of the quoted text, with only the two references to divine providence left in.

The Independent did not answer questions asking if they had determined how the quotes had come to differ so substantially from the source conversation, nor did they answer a question asking if they were confident that this was the only article written by Coyne which contained inaccurate or misleading quotations.

Read more of Gript’s reporting on this story here 


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