In general terms I would like to compliment all who were present at the NUJ Appeals Tribunal hearing in London on July 24, at which the baseless charges against me were dismissed. Whatever side of the dispute, or none, they happened to be on, the union people there considered the work of the Tribunal to be sufficiently serious to accord it the respect of turning up.

More specifically I wish to express my appreciation to the Appeals Tribunal of the NUJ. Prior to leaving the London hearing I informed the Tribunal that regardless of any verdict it might deliver, for or against me, I felt I had been given a very fair hearing on the day and would not be lambasting its ruling. Process invariably calibrates our perspective on outcome.

I am deeply grateful to my solicitor on the case, Conor Houston who expertly guided me throughout. Despite being denied by the Ethics Council the right to legally represent me at its mistrial in Belfast he remained present throughout the entire working day, a sentinel ever vigilant against abuse of process, of which there were many. His legal acumen left me fully confident about the ultimate outcome.

Great appreciation to my Boston College subpoena case lawyer, Eamonn Dornan, who adeptly switched lanes and applied the acuity of mind we are now familiar with to this case. No task was too much for him. Ever quick to spot an adversarial frailty, no argument of the opposition slipped past him.  I owe him more than is ever imaginable.

I wish also to thank Simon Pirani of the London Freelance Branch NUJ who represented me at the Appeals Tribunal. He took considerable time out from his own business to attend to this matter which he did with considerable dexterity. In addition to being an unswerving advocate on the day, his understanding of union rules, protocol and natural justice was invaluable to the procedural navigation required in this case.

I am thankful also to those NUJ colleagues who gave so generously of their time out of an unyielding commitment to protecting journalists and journalism from not only the effects of actions they consider vexatious but also the insidious practice of censorship.

Last but not least, as always in the unsolicited battles I find myself immersed in, my deep gratitude is extended to my wife Carrie Twomey. Her eye for detail and her nose for bull combined to equip me with a case as tight as a drum. She applied the same methodical and forensic mind to deconstructing the case against me as she has previously done in unravelling the false narrative of the 1981 hunger strike. The energy and tenacity with which she has driven the campaign to prevent the PSNI seizure of the Boston College tapes was channelled into this fight for freedom of expression and against censorship.

To all involved, my appreciation and gratitude is heartfelt and enduring.


  1. Jaysuuuus Anthony I almost ,and I stress almost! feel sorry for the other side now,those who were in your corner did you proud and achieved a memorable outcome ,I have hunted the Vatican Times aka The Irish News about this case but nada,nil zilch fuck all, seems the ever talkative ms Morris has developed writers cramp, maybe her cronie Barnes will have something to say in the Sunday rag he writes for,I very much doubt it though.

  2. Marty,

    in my view the Irish News never wanted the discussion to happen so sought to muffle it and then sing Hallelujah once the Ethics Council gave its flawed verdict. Even were it to highlight the verdict now the tardy manner in which it arrived at the announcement is more revealing than anything it might say.

    The Sunday Life said nothing about it then so it would be under no obligation to comment this time round.

  3. The Truth Mackers...

    We need the truth to prevail otherwise we let liars write our history in terms that would suit them.

    From the old Blanket site to the Quill you and Carrie have always been there in defense of the truth and Freedom of speech. You were never one to be agreeable for the sake of pleasing others, no matter who they would be. You said and say it as you believe it to be so.

    A fine attribute indeed.

    Sadly that is what journalism lacks - a nose for the truth.

    One final point I've made before.. We often see the same posters here time again but there are also those we don't see that regularly read what we write. I've lost count of the amount of times during conversations with Republicans that I'm surprised when they say 'aye I read that or this on Macker's site'.

    Then again why should I be surprised?

  4. Nice touch Dixie.

    This is the beauty of the Net. The people with power can't keep our voices hushed up any more. I learned that 15 years ago.

    It is always reassuring to learn that people read us. If you take that piece on vindication by the NUJ, it has gone through the roof in terms of page reads. Just like the Wiki-dump one back in March on the same issue. This underscores the futility of the road pursued by those who wanted the critique of them hushed up.
    How many people would really have noticed the original satirical piece were it not for the attempt to censor it and punish us through the NUJ?

    And to make matters worse, for no good reason they have made us the vindicated and themselves the vanquished. What logic is there in that? Why not just take it on the chin and throw a good punch back? This tendency to run to libel lawyers or Ethics Councils is in my view a danger to robust debate and frank discussion.

    These issues can for the most part be solved early in the day if people opt not to see every problem as a nail the only solution for which is a hammer. If the instinct is to bully, the whole thing falls apart the minute is comes up against someone determined not to be bullied.

    It is most unfortunate because a while back there we had Peter Robinson telling people not to read the Irish News. He wanted done to the paper what it wanted done to us. I thought he was out of order and I think the Irish News is also out of order.

  5. "This is the beauty of the Net. The people with power can't keep our voices hushed up any more. I learned that 15 years ago."

    I will second that, but we do have to be ever watchful as the powers that be, whether big or small are engaged in a campaign to muzzle the internet, as we are seeing with Twitter today.

    True there are ways to circumvent this, but while pretty simple not everyone will know about them or choose to use them.