Jour­nal­ists can breathe easy now that Boris is on the case

The Irish Times - - Home News - Miriam Lord’sWeek

North­ern Ire­land jour­nal­ists Trevor Bir­ney and Barry McCaf­frey caused a bit of a splash when they vis­ited West­min­ster on Thurs­day.

The two are on po­lice bail un­til March 1st aris­ing from po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into in­for­ma­tion fea­tured in their award-win­ning documentary No Stone Un­turned, about the 1994 UVF mur­ders of six peo­ple in a pub in Lough­in­is­land. They have not been charged, but the po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged breaches of the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act.

Dur­ing their visit they high­lighted the ag­gres­sive raids on their homes. Bir­ney told MPs that even his eight-year-old daugh­ter’s pink phone and her home­work, on a mem­ory stick, had been con­fis­cated and re­mains in cus­tody.

The NUJ group, led by for­mer union pres­i­dent Tim Daw­son, got a warm re­cep­tion from pre­dictable sources, in­clud­ing Tony Lloyd, Labour spokesman on North­ern Ire­land and Chris Stephens of the SNP. For­mer deputy PM John Prescott was es­pe­cially sup­port­ive.

After­wards, there was a spe­cial show­ing of the film at the NUJ’s head of­fice in King’s Cross. Among the at­ten­dance was the Sinn Féin MP for South Down, Chris Haz­zard, along with aca­demic and jour­nal­ist Roy Greenslade, his­to­rian Dr Mau­rice Walsh, late of this parish, and an ar­ray of oth­ers.

Back in West­min­ster, with the Brexit de­bate rag­ing in the Com­mons, there was some sur­prise among the vis­i­tors when Boris Johnson stopped to chat. In no time at all he was loudly ex­press­ing his shock at the treat­ment of the two jour­nal­ists.

Ac­cord­ing to Bir­ney, it only took the MP two min­utes to be­come fully in­formed and to­tally out­raged, “nearly as long as he took to con­sider the im­pli­ca­tions of Brexit”.

The jour­nal­ist later tweeted a pho­to­graph of their meet­ing with the for­mer Lon­don mayor and for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary with the caption: “Boris promised he’d give our case the same con­sid­er­a­tion he’d ap­plied to Brexit and [its] im­pact on Ire­land. We’re sorted.”

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