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United condemnation of gangsters' threats to journalists

By Tom Brady

Published 12/02/2016

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has led a chorus of condemnation of threats from criminals to the safety of reporters at Independent News and Media (INM).

The sinister warnings brought back memories of the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin 20 years ago by a drugs trafficking gang.

The latest threats were issued as a bloody feud between two crime gangs erupted in Dublin, resulting in two deaths in less than 80 hours. INM said it was working with gardai to increase security around the named journalists.

INM Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rae said it was an outrageous threat to the freedom of the press. "The safety of our journalists is of paramount importance," he added. "Our media group will not be deterred from serving the public interest and highlighting the threat posed by such criminals."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he deplored any threat made to any journalist. "One of the pillars of a functioning democracy is freedom of speech," he added. "Journalists must be afforded the freedom to go about their jobs without fear of reprisal. Those who engaged in the recent killings on our streets will be brought to justice."

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said: "There can be no place in society for threats to any journalists. It is clear that the thugs and gangsters behind the recent shootings in Dublin believe that they can act with impunity."

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin added the sinister development evoked memories of the very worst days of gangland violence and Ms Guerin's murder.

"It will add to the sense of vulnerability and chaos that many communities now feel, and it further confirms the total contempt that these thugs have for our society and for the freedoms that we hold dear," he said.

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists Seamus Dooley said they had learned of the threats with shock but added that journalists and media organisations would not be intimidated by such threats.

"No journalists should be placed under threat for doing their job," Mr Dooley said. "We remind all journalists to remain vigilant and be mindful of their personal safety."

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