Back on March 8 journalist Chris Lowry wrote an article for the Irish Independent about Celtic Football Club. The article was an opinion piece about Rangers and Celtic, and how both need each other to survive. He concluded:
But actually, without Rangers, the whole house of cards could collapse. Celtic would be the hardest hit. What would point of them if their fans had no pantomime villain to boo?
What, come to think of it, would be the point of Scottish football?
The next day on March 9, IN&M minority shareholder Dermot Desmond (a long friend of this blog) sent a letter to then IN&M chief executive Gavin O’Reilly. In it he complained about the above mentioned article saying:
I was very disappointed to read the above article in the opinion section of the Irish Independent website yesterday. The high standards of journalism, that the IN&M claim to uphold, were clearly ignored when this article was published. It is frankly a disgusting piece of journalism that does a disservice to the IN&M Group. This type of gutter press is not what I would have expected from a company in which I have invested a substantial sum of money.
Mr Lowry’s article is not based on fact. Therefore, any response from you to the effect that “this is ‘fair comment”‘ simply will not stand up. I am calling on you to retract this opinion piece without delay and to issue an apology to both clubs. In the absence of a suitable apology, I will be recommending that Celtic FC make a formal complaint based on incitement to hatred.
Of course, as Mr Desmond admits, he is a significant shareholder in Celtic FC. After reading of Denis O’Brien’s spokesman James Morrissey’s letter to Karl Brophy, one has to wonder just how often current IN&M shareholders Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien (or people acting on their behalf) are sending letters like this to management, or indeed to individual journalists working at Independent Newspapers.
Thanks to a reader, here is Dermot Desmond’s letter, on the paper of IIU, his investment company: