Category: Archive

Lawlor death shot

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

It was subsequently revealed that the woman in the car, who survived the crash, was 32-year-old interpreter and translator, Julia Kushnir.
The former TD, who gained notoriety for his corrupt political practices, was in Russia on a business trip when the car he was traveling in struck a bollard on the Leningrad Shosse highway. He died instantly.
Lawlor rose to public prominence during the Flood Tribunal’s inquiries into corrupt political payments and planning decisions. Lawlor went to jail on three separate occasions for failing to cooperate with the tribunal.
His death overshadowed the Fianna Fail ard-fheis held in Killarney, Co Kerry. With leader Bertie Ahern hoping to use the event to kick-start his flagging party’s fortunes, the event was instead dominated by news of Lawlor’s untimely demise.
Lawlor’s corrupt past proved seriously damaging to the Fianna Fail brand. He resigned from the party in 2000 and finally bowed out of politics in 2002 when he decided not to run for re-election.
Despite Lawlor’s deeply tarnished history, reaction to how his death was reported forced Independent Newspapers into retracting Sunday’s assertions.
The Sunday Independent led with the story, which was picked up by a number of other newspapers in their later editions.
Independent Newspapers’ managing editor Michael Denieffe apologized on RTE radio for any hurt caused to the Lawlor family.
“Obviously the story is inaccurate and has caused enormous distress and we will have to look at our procedures and how we check stories and you can take it that we are definitely going to put procedures in place to ensure that this will never happen again,” said Denieffe.
Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning also apologized, taking full responsibility for the story.
Their comments followed a statement made earlier by the Lawlor family.
The statement read: “It is with great regret and more than a little sadness that the extended Lawlor family at this time of grief and shock had to endure from certain sections of media a barrage of inaccurate, reckless and vindictive coverage on the circumstances of the death of Liam.
“At this time of mourning it is deeply shocking and distressing that such hurtful allegations should be made in this way without checking their veracity. The family ask that the media reflect on their coverage and allow them space to cope with their loss.”
The reporting also came in for criticism from the National Union of Journalists’ Irish secretary Seamus Dooley who described it as a “black day” for journalism.
“Most journalists that I know, including the vast number of journalists in Independent House, were shocked at the treatment of this story,” said Dooley. “This is commercial exploitation of the death of a prominent person.
“This is commercial values dictating rather than editorial values. This is the commercialization of news which is particularly intense in the Sunday market.”
The controversy is likely to strengthen Minister of Justice Michael McDowell’s plans for a press complaints body. McDowell described the coverage as cruel, offensive and lacking in foundation.

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