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Reasons not to trust the Sunday Independent’s Jim Cusack May 31, 2009

Posted by Garibaldy in Irish History, Media and Journalism.

The following comes from a story by Jim Cusack in today’s web edition of the Sunday Independent.

One of the key incidents in the outset of the Troubles in 1969 was the sectarian murder of a Protestant man, Billy King, who was kicked to death by Catholic rioters outside his home in the Fountain area of Derry.

Billy King, who was killed in September 1969, and Kevin McDaid, who was kicked to death last Sunday, were both aged 49 and both the fathers of four children. Neither was involved in any form of militancy and both were killed merely because of their religious backgrounds.

The killing of Billy King and several other Protestants by Catholics prompted the retaliatory violence by Protestants, who invaded Catholic areas of Belfast, leading to the British government’s decision to call in the British army as the then under-strength Royal Ulster Constabulary was on the verge of collapse.

Leaving aside the fact that the final paragraph makes no sense due to a grammatical error, this is utter nonsense. The British Army was sent onto the streets of Northern Ireland in August 1969 in response to attacks by loyalist and state forces on the Bogside and subsequent rioting elsewhere in the North, especially Belfast and Armagh. Cusack has a very bad track record on factual accuracy, but this version of events is so grossly wrong as to completely misrepresent reality, and in essence blames northern Catholics for the bigoted and vicious behaviour of reactionary unionism in this period. Frankly, someone who claims to be an expert on Northern Ireland who writes this nonsense ought to be sacked.


1. ep - May 31, 2009

does it matter. family men were killed for being catholics. probably picked at random by a group of people who wanted to vent their anger at their situation. maybe it was peer presure. they removed childrens fathers from their homes never to be seen again in this earthly realm. but i will say this they will have to account for all this each and every one of them individualy too.


2. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

I think how we remember, talk about and interpret the events of the Troubles does matter a great deal, especially in the context of avoiding a repetition, which is what Cusack was addressing. However, the factual inaccuracy and political bent that often appears in his articles discredit him and his publication.


3. WorldbyStorm - May 31, 2009

Very much agree Garibaldy, and I’d echo what you say. It is crucial that the history isn’t just washed away, not because it’s a case of pinning ‘blame’ on one side or another, there are dismal events on all sides and more than enough to go around, but because taking a spurious line as Cusack does is ahistorical and arguably pernicious.


4. ep - May 31, 2009

maybe he speaks from his side, his pear presure that he follows. whatever, what do you want from him. the details are there. they are true and happened the important ones anyway so how can you split hairs over this.


5. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

ep, when the British troops were sent in and why is a fairly central detail. In fact there is hardly a more central one given everything that happened subsequently. I can split hairs over this because it is a mistake of such major proportions. It makes it very hard, if not impossible, to take anything he says seriously.


6. ep - May 31, 2009

even the deaths of 2 men, fathers of 4 children apiece.


7. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

The deaths were tragedies, and the result of sectarianism. I don’t have Lost Lives to hand, but Billy King is not listed in the Sutton database of Troubles deaths on the CAIN website. Perhaps he should be. If we understand what caused their, and other, deaths we hopefully can better prevent a repetition. Getting the details wrong stands in the way of that.


8. ep - May 31, 2009

splitting hairs again. what does it take for people to understand that this is collective, we are all guilty in a way for this.we put up with it and say that its him, its her, they did it, nothin to do with me i just want to live my life in peace, but peace is a fantasy for so many. it hurts to think about it, how so many can follow a society that behaves in this way. its all about superiority, who is the ruler, who is my ruler, who rules me as a person more like. who do i bow down to.


9. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

Not splitting hairs at all. My point – if you care to read the piece I wrote here on the murder of Mr McDaid – was precisely that this was a societal problem, and that until we face up to that fact we can never change that. That is precisely why I am in The WP.


10. ep - May 31, 2009

your point then is that this man the writer is fudging the details. i see that but i dont understand why you have an issue with that when there is so much to take in. about all the violence and horrors that are happening and you take issue with the details but the true horror is more of a concern to me and to anyone with a sense of right and wrong too. i get you. but i would not pay attention to the backgound of this unfortunate scene. its a symptom of corruption in the media, it is the type of writing you will see anywhere in the papers, they have to do what they are told unfortunately.


11. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

There is more agency to it than that in my opinion. And my point is that he has got the details completely wrong. Which is different than fudging.


12. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

PS the background does matter. A hell of a lot. This is a symptom of a wider disease.


13. ep - May 31, 2009

and what disease?


14. Ian - May 31, 2009

Oh there are many many reasons not to read the utter crap that Jim Cusack comes out with; This article has to be one of them as well



15. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009


sectarianism which infects the totality of life in NI.


Many many mistakes on his record I agree.


16. Niall - May 31, 2009

EP, Jim Cusack is not the main story. However, he is an influential reporter whose work is sensational and often highly inaccurate. Alas, many people first encounter important stories through the inaccurate and sensational reports of Cusack and others like him so if someone like Garibaldy notices a pattern in the types of error a reporter or newspaper make where the pattern points toward a political agenda, they do us a service by highlighting the unbiased nature of the reports so that we can better judge for ourselves what the approrpirate respone to the problem should be.


17. ep - May 31, 2009

its a sevice to you. how does it help you in your life. will it change you and make you a better man, someone who fights the common cause and prepare you to respond. what will your response be.


Paddy - June 1, 2009

What with this glorious June Bank holiday Sunday a long session of outdoor reading seemed like a good prospect and with this intention I broke an oath I made with myself and bought the Sunday Independent this after a long period of self imposed exile the oath and exile had resulted from the scandalous coverage the SI and others gave to Liam Lawlor car crash death in Moscow Oct 2005 their coverage surrounding this mans demise eventually resulted in a half million settlement and costs.

Anyway I can tell you after this departure from my better judgement it will be quite some time before I buy this paper again most of the articles by the lead writers were so lacking of substance it is incredible to me that these guys can be regarded as credible journalists at all.
Remember it is a broad sheet paper so plenty of space for long tedious articles by Aengus’s men all of which contain one type of negative spin or other. As if the Irish people in general do not have enough to cope with right now Alan Ruddock kicked off on the front Page with the lead “How much worse can it get” Ruddock in the course of his summary of the countries economic woes lays in with the following gem “the government will argue that it cannot announce publically that it is winding down the bank (Anglo Irish) because a public announcement would encourage a flight of deposits and it would have to find the money to pay them” hardly rocket science there however sometimes you would wonder if this is just the scenario this guy and his ilk in the Indo would like to see happening. Hello!
Not an inkling of any detail as to how the government or the incoming government for that matter are to do to turn our disastrous situation around except call for retribution as Ruddock asks for in his follow up article elsewhere in the paper.

I was surprised to see Jody boy still in action for Aengus considering all the gaffs he has made in the last few years remember the central part he played in the incident referred to above. But of course crassness is Aengus’s middle name who will ever forget when forced to apology to the family of Lawlor following the said reporting debacle he also used the apology to remind the public that the SI’s readership numbers were on the rise. Enough said…….
But surely the saddest article of all from this Sundays lamentable production comes from Jim Cusack with his insulting article regarding the lynching of Kevin McDaid his rambling article nicely avoids the horrible fact that post the GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT an element exists within the loyalist community that sees all Catholics as fair game.
How he managed to turn this Satanic Act on it head and almost point it back at the community that McDaid came from is astonishing.
Not a word of reference in Cusack’s article relating to the disgusting comments as reported in The Belfast Telegraph made by the local DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan following the psychopathic murderous attack his filthy comments of clarification of “context” for this most debasing and heinous of crimes insulted humanity itself.

Cusack would have been better served in commiserating with the McDaid family than gibbering on trying to deflect away from the underlying sectarian murderous blood lust and cancer that exists in a section of the loyalist community.
A blood lust that is well fermented by the comments of the McQuillians of this world
That this crime coming after the sentencing earlier in this month of four young Ballymena men for the equally vicious murder of 15 year old Michael McIlveen is worrying in the extreme.
Cusack (obviously a disciple of UCC’s John A. Murphy Revisionary Historical Society) was so anxious to write in terms of his unique version of recent Irish history i.e. The Troubles that he was blinded to the obvious fact that if the DUP and all other political representatives of the Unionist – Loyalist side do not start to prepare their electorate for the changed reality of the Island of Ireland post the GFA then a real possibility exists through this type of despicable act that a drift towards the dark side could happen again.
Remember Matthew 12.37 “For by your words will your righteousness be seen and by your words will you be judged”


18. ep - June 1, 2009

and by your words will you be remembered – i said that. let me say something about this irish situation. the ways of violence are intimidation, it is oppression and it is an aggression on a humanity. it is a way of force. it is a depression, a moral intimidation that has no true foundation, let it burden us no more, let it be what it is, a destructive force that is seen for what it is and let us move….on let us move on..


19. Killian Forde - June 1, 2009

Good post and an important matter to point out. The one thing all journalists dislike is their facts being wrong. In this case and irrespective of his opinion the basic facts are wrong. William King died in September 1969 a full month after the BA was called out on the streets. It is compeletly and utterly false to claim;

“The killing of Billy King and several other Protestants by Catholics prompted the retaliatory violence by Protestants, who invaded Catholic areas of Belfast”.

The historical and documented reality is that the BA was called into restore “law and order” due to the failure of the police to do the same. That failure was a direct result of their sectarian and one sided approach to policing the citizens. AFAIR all the death bars one pre deployment were Catholics killed by the police or loyalist gangs.

Cusacks piece is factually incorrect and its analysis is goes beyond even the Sindo pro British spin. Frankly his piece would not stand out as ill fitting in a Loyalist magazine or website.


Paddy - June 1, 2009

EP below is a sample of a few lines from each of your subs what exactly are you on about get off the fence……quiet simply do you think Cusack has a case to answer in relation to his Indo article or not, is he guilty of misrepresenting the facts or not, is his article factual or not, is he fit for his job or not and finally with respect are you Irish or not you seem to imply in your last post you were about to lecture us Irish about the ” Irish situation (Capitals EP don’t forget the Capitals) as if you were someone set apart or at a distance. If this is the case (I may be wrong) please have respect in your posts for the stakeholders on this Island namely the Irish People who have spoken the Irish People have after all a mandated and moral interest in making sure the detail contained in the GFA are fully implemented and embedded in all section of the Island may they be Catholic, Protestant or Dissenter.
Frankly imo Cusack inaccurate article in SI does in essence undermines these principals and this precious Agreement. This is unacceptable. Having read the various post to this thread I don’t believe I am alone in this view.

@ #1does it matter. Family men were killed for being Catholics
@ #4 maybe he speaks from his side, his pear pressure that he follows. Whatever, what do you want from him? The details are there. they are true
@ # 6 even the deaths of 2 men, fathers of 4 children apiece.
@ # 8 what does it take for people to understand that this is collective
@ # 10 that this man the writer is fudging the details. I see that but I don’t understand why you have an issue with that when there is so much to take in…………. but I would not pay attention to the background of this unfortunate scene
@ # 18 let me say something about this Irish situation


20. Paddy a dó - June 2, 2009

Cusack is one of several so called Journalists in Ireland who hate the fact that the “troubles” are over. Now they have lost the only subject which they felt they had any competence to write about. That is a misnomer, as they should not be writing about anything.
Bitter and twisted is the only way to describe Cusacks latest piece but then he is employed by “Lord O’Reilly” and a certain agenda must be maintained. There have been many others writing in similar vein for this rag over the years, Eilis O’Hanlon, John A Murphy to mention a few. But we the discerning readers must vote with our feet and ensure that independent News and Media goes to the wall as soon as possible.


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