Written on: 29. 7. 2021 in the category: Uncategorized

Letter to a Kindly Fireman….

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“What the fuck happened to you?” asked the Dublin fireman I met the other day. “Why do we never hear from you anymore?”

WTF happened?

This happened.

Four years ago this week, John Burns, my page editor on The Sunday Times Irish edition asked me to write about the row in the BBC over the pay differentials between male and female broadcasters.  He emailed: “Fallopia O’Whynge wants to work less hours than her male counterparts, slope off to have babies whenevs & yet be paid exactly the same. Gwan”.

I initially refused for a full day before (albeit reluctantly) assenting. I soon discovered that the two best paid women in the BBC were Jewish. Foolishly, but in genuine admiration of their chutzpah – a Yiddish word – I wrote: “Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price.”

I filed on Thursday, nearly 24 hours early. That evening, I was asked: was I sure they were Jewish? The actual wording ran, “Are jew sure?”

My copy was read by at least five people in Dublin and London before publication. Nobody objected.

The Irish edition of The Sunday Times came online at 12.01am, and was immediately accessed in London, presumably on a tip-off, so beginning a Twitter-blitz about my alleged misogyny and anti-Semitism from a Betty Crocker-style ready-made lynch-mob.

At 8.55 am, Burns rang me to say that I was in deep trouble. I had no idea what for. Nobody in London spoke ever to me. Within an hour, The Sunday Times publicly announced it was sacking me and that I would never work for it again, so prompting a world-wide wave of hysteria, with the BBC News putting me ahead of a North Korean ballistic missile launch.

I was next accused of “Holocaust denial”, based on an article of mine someone had dug up from eight years earlier. Its thrust was simple; the primacy of the Polish death camps within the narrative of the Final Solution had largely concealed the truth that more Jews were worked to death in Nazi slave-factories or slaughtered by the Wehrmacht, the SS and locally-recruited Gentile militias than were gassed and burned in places like Auschwitz.

For far from being a Holocaust denier, I am an Amplifier.

Nonetheless, the thoroughly despicable Roy Greenslade, formerly a columnist with The Guardian and Sunday Times and a frequent guest on RTE, as well being an IRA agent – retweeted the falsehood that I was a Holocaust denier, adding of my sacking: “Good!”

His tweet was probably the inspiration for Audrey Carville’s description of me that Monday on RTE’s Morning Ireland as a Holocaust-denier.

The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland promptly protested that far from being such a creature, I had written “truths about the Holocaust the Irish people would not otherwise have known.”

A listener to the programme, Karl Martin, soon filed a complaint to RTE about Carville’s falsehood. RTE rejected his complaint. He forwarded his complaint to the RTE Broadcasting Authority, which some weeks later, upheld it.

Incredibly, and unprecedently, RTE instantly rejected the finding, giving me no alternative but to sue.

But meanwhile, in that first week, I had become an international media pariah, with just a handful of defenders: the two Harrises, Ruth Dudley Edwards and Ben Lowry. The Irish Times unleashed its attack dogs, with nine columns denouncing me, though none of my persecutors had ever previously called me a misogynist. Meanwhile on Twitter, JK Rowling (13 million followers) and Chelsea Clinton (3.4 million followers) had exponentially entered the fray. Naturally, the Taoiseach Varadkar and Tanaiste Fitzgerald, joined the lynch mob with their own heroic denunciations of me.

Never in Irish history had any Taoiseach ever taken the side of a multinational against an Irish citizen. Not a single politician or journalist rebuked him for this act of national treachery, nor did any of them point an accusing finger at News Corps, which owned The Sunday Times. Formerly known as News International, this organisation had been responsible for the vilest telephone hacking scandal in journalistic history, which involved accessing the private phone messages of the murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler. With such a sordid history, News Corps and its boss Rebekah Wade, who had been acquitted by a court of responsibility for the Millie scandal, must have expected to be castigated in Ireland for sacking an Irish citizen without due process. Instead, they got a hearty round of journalistic applause for bringing international ruin upon the dastardly villain writing this.

I sued RTE for calling me a Holocaust denier, and two years later, the station folded, with apology and damages. Its broadcast retraction declared: “Morning Ireland acknowledges that Mr Myers has for over three decades repeatedly testified to the scale and the wickedness of Hitler’s Final Solution. Morning Ireland acknowledges the damage done to Mr Myers’s reputation. We regret this and unreservedly apologise.”

But the apology ­was immediately followed by the voice of my original vilifier, Audrey Carville chirpily promoting that night’s Late Late Show; in other words, in spirit, no apology at all. RTE News never thereafter mentioned either the settlement or the apology, and incredibly – an adverb that could adorn almost every sentence in this account – nor did The Irish Times.

I next wrote to Professor John Hegarty, uniquely a member of both the Irish Times Trust and of The Irish Times Board, declaring that the newspaper’s failure to report my victory could only have been intentional. “This letter is written in the hope that some public restitution of the reputations of both myself and the newspaper you have the honour to serve is still possible.”

Far from offering any such restitution, Hegarty never even acknowledged my letter.

Two RTE programmes – TV’s Prime Time and Radio One’s Miriam O’Callaghan – separately invited me on to discuss my victory. They then agreed between themselves (or so they said) that O’Callaghan would interview me. The week of the broadcast, her producer confirmed I would be live on air the following Sunday. Two days later, she cancelled the invitation.

My memoir, Burning Heresies (Merrion) – the publication of which had been postponed by the RTE court-case and then by Covid – finally appeared in September 2020. My publishers accepted an invitation to appear on Claire Byrne’s show on RTE Radio One, contingent on our giving her a daytime monopoly that week. Once this had irrevocably been done, the show cancelled my appearance. The Irish Times – for which I had worked for twenty-five years, and in which Burning Heresies is largely set – has never reviewed it or even acknowledged its existence.

In January 2021, Frank Fitzgibbon, who had been Irish editor of the Sunday Times in 2017 when I was sacked and publicly vilified by that very newspaper, admitted in an interview that “Kevin was very badly done by, by people who claimed he was anti-Semitic … that was just completely, completely and utterly wrong. …his record shows and his columns show quite the opposite.”

Both RTE and The Irish Times, which are each charter-bound to tell the truth, then ignored this stunning admission. Subscribers to either organisation have still not been told of these facts or even of the existence of my memoir.

In February 2021, Trocaire began legal proceedings against my publisher Merrion Press because I had written that Bishop Eamon Casey had stolen money from it over thirty years ago, thereby – or so Trocaire alleged – undermining its good name. Though I had said nothing whatever to impugn Trocaire, it was clear that with an annual budget of €40 million, this “charity” had the resources to tie us up in legal knots for years. Merrion had accordingly to stop sales of Burning Heresies for several months at a vital time in its shelf-life before finally reaching a settlement that obliged it to paste an insert into every copy of the book declaring “We accept that no money was misappropriated from Trocaire”.

Whereas, of course, with all that money sloshing around in buckets outside churches across the land, there’s no way of knowing just who the kleptomaniac Casey stole money from or how much.  Either way, the action by Trocaire – unlike me, a sworn enemy of Israel – against my memoir was extremely successful. In addition to hitting sales at a vital time, it cost my publisher and me thousands, since we were obliged to pay Trocaire’s legal bill.

In 2020, The Spectator magazine in London published two articles by Lionel Shriver and Douglas Murray, exposing the lies about me. Only one British-based journalist, William Shawcross, of the dozens I know, contacted me to wish me well. Moreover, though Rowling had been exposed as purveyor of malicious fictions, she has never apologised or publicly retracted, and nor indeed has The Guardian.

So within the media sewer, the malevolent falsehood that I am a Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic misogynist remains an established fact. However, in the broad sunlight above that stinking faecal broth, most ordinary people know the truth, if not in detail, at least in general.

As I hope, that nice fireman now does also….

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