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IRISH GOVERNMENT EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER MOLONEY

(by Matt Cooper, Sunday Tribune)

The Government has raised the issue of the possible jailing of The Sunday Tribune’s Northern Editor Ed Moloney with its British counterpart at a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Conference and expressed its concern about developments.

However, it has not made a public statement yet, apparently because it is of a similar situation - where a court requires a journalist to hand over his notes to assist in a police investigation - arising in Ireland. The Government has raised the issue of the possible jailing of The Sunday Tribune’s Northern Editor Ed Moloney with its British counterpart at a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Conference and expressed its concern about developments.

However, it has not made a public statement yet, apparently because it is of a similar situation - where a court requires a journalist to hand over his notes to assist in a police investigation - arising in Ireland.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, has written to the National Union of Journalists outlining his interest in the case.

In his letter he said an analysis of a new report by the British-Irish Rights Watch into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has been prepared at the Department of Foreign Affairs "and is currently the subject of discussions with the British authorities. All on-going developments related to the case are, naturally, also being closely monitored".

Andrews wrote that he is "fully aware of the difficulties surrounding the order requiring Ed Moloney to hand over his notes. The work of journalists in Northern Ireland, and of Ed in particular, has been - and is - of the utmost importance in relation to the development of the peace process. I would personally wish that the confidentiality of sources should be protected.

" However, this issue is a complex one in both jurisdictions and is not immediately amenable to a satisfactory resolution."

Andrews said he was also aware of the broader issue relating to the personal safety of journalists and promised to bring these to the attention of the British authorities. It is understood that a Government observer may attend the Judicial Review into the Moloney case this week. A nominee of the Human Rights Commission will also attend.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, has written to the National Union of Journalists outlining his interest in the case.

In his letter he said an analysis of a new report by the British-Irish Rights Watch into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has been prepared at the Department of Foreign Affairs "and is currently the subject of discussions with the British authorities. All on-going developments related to the case are, naturally, also being closely monitored".

Andrews wrote that he is "fully aware of the difficulties surrounding the order requiring Ed Moloney to hand over his notes. The work of journalists in Northern Ireland, and of Ed in particular, has been - and is - of the utmost importance in relation to the development of the peace process. I would personally wish that the confidentiality of sources should be protected.

" However, this issue is a complex one in both jurisdictions and is not immediately amenable to a satisfactory resolution."

Andrews said he was also aware of the broader issue relating to the personal safety of journalists and promised to bring these to the attention of the British authorities. It is understood that a Government observer may attend the Judicial Review into the Moloney case this week. A nominee of the Human Rights Commission will also attend.


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