**neglected to put this in for those of you interested--no big surprise here...

The Sunday Times - Ireland

August 31, 2003

IRA ‘rewarded’ on-side media
Breandan Morley

SINN FEIN’S leading spindoctor has revealed some of the tricks of the trade. The party used its relationship with the IRA to manipulate media coverage, according to Danny Morrison, a former director of publicity for Sinn Fein.

Journalists who wrote articles favourable to republicans were “rewarded” with exclusive stories about the IRA and interviews with senior members of the paramilitary group, Morrison has revealed.

But reporters who criticised Sinn Fein were denied access to the IRA. Those who were persistently critical of the Provisionals were denied all co- operation by its political wing.

Morrison was head of the republican press centre in Belfast until 1990. Interviewed for a thesis on journalism in Northern Ireland by a student at Dublin City University, he outlined how he managed media coverage of Sinn Fein by cultivating selected journalists.

“We wanted to control everything,” he admitted. “If journalists wanted access to the IRA they had to come through us and then we get into a relationship and quid pro quos develop. If people got exclusive stuff from us, then you had a relationship with them where you would say, ‘Now we have a very important statement coming out tomorrow morning, so don’t let us down here,’ and so our story would maybe run as the top item.”

He added: “If I was giving somebody an exclusive story, making somebody, I expected them to promote something that maybe wasn’t as spectacular as the last thing they got.”

Journalists who were critical of Sinn Fein and the IRA risked being cut out of the loop altogether. Dawn Doyle, the party’s current director of publicity, admitted that the party had for some time refused to deal with The Sunday Times after it named prominent members of Sinn Fein as belonging to the IRA’s army council.

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