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Senator: “Many unanswered questions” about migrant camp story

Senator Ronan Mullen has called for a closer look at the Irish Times’ Ashtown migrant camp story, amid what he called “unanswered questions.”

The Independent Senator made the remarks on Wednesday during the Order of Business, as he called for a debate on “media coverage of migration issues.”

February 1st 2023

“I wonder whether such coverage is making the tense situation in parts of our country better or worse,” he said.

“There are many unanswered questions, no matter how one looks at it, about the terrifying report in The Irish Times at the weekend alleging an attack involving a German Shepherd dog and people wearing balaclavas.”

Mullen then went on to highlight the apparent lack of hard proof currently available to “substantiate the claim.”

“It appears that while the newspaper reported that the journalist Kitty Holland had witnessed the attack, that was not the case,” he said.

“At this point, there is no footage available to substantiate the claim, either of what happened or the aftermath. There are no reported or identified attackers or victims. There is a claim by the newspaper that it is worried about defamation. Perhaps the Garda is looking into the matter.”

The Senator added that the public “have a right to expect high standards from our media, regardless of how worried we are about racist attitudes.”

“Many people have not been to the Bunny Carr school of communication, but it does not make them racist if they have concerns that they express badly,” he said.

“Whether it was inadvertence, a lapse in standards, ideology or a case of overegging or exaggerating a story, this needs to be looked at.”

He said that while social media abuse of Kitty Holland was “absolutely abhorrent,” “there is another side to this.”

“I hope The Irish Times will look into what happened and come out with an explanation in due course – there are questions about the report that we need to ask,” he concluded.

The Senators’ comments follow a Gript report this week which showed that many major media outlets reported that Holland had witnessed the alleged attack, including the Irish Times, when Holland in fact maintains that she did not see it.


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