Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Donegal urged to end media restrictions

The fact that the Donegal executive committee has imposed reporting restrictions on tomorrow's county Convention in Letterkenny has now served to thrust the event, which would normally merit little attention, into the spotlight.

Traditionally conventions are dull affairs, although they are occasionally highlighted by lively discussion on occasional hot topics. But in a year in which controversy and Donegal have been regular bedfellows, the annual 'talking shop' is already making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Earlier this year Donegal manager Jim McGuinness found himself under fire when he played down the importance of the Allianz League, implying that his side were keeping their powder dry for the championship in which he indicated that they were intent on winning their third successive provincial title.

But when his team slumped into Division Two and were then slammed by Monaghan in the Ulster final and walloped by Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-finals McGuinness was left with egg all over his face.

And all the while the debate raged in Donegal surrounding the staging of domestic championship fixtures while the county team was involved in the Ulster and All-Ireland series.

Now, invitations to the media to cover tomorrow's Convention included the stipulation that county chairman Sean Dunnion reserved the right to put the meeting "in camera" at any stage should he so desired.

This raised the hackles of journalists and following a trawl of opinions, it was decided to boycott the Convention.

One prominent Donegal official confided: "This shows the county in a bad light, it's as if we have something to hide which is not of course the case."

Donegal journalist Peter Campbell said: "We have been trying to reach a compromise. We certainly cannot do our job properly if unfair restrictions are imposed."

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