Mr Sean Fitzgerald and the Sunday World
The Sunday World (11 January 2015) reported on a funeral and stated that Mr Sean Fitzgerald was among a number of other named people who had “paid their respects”. Mr Fitzgerald wrote to the editor of the Sunday World stating that he had not attended the wake, the funeral mass or the cremation of the deceased and that he was not amongst the mourners. Mr Fitzgerald did not receive a reply form the Sunday World. In a subsequent letter to the Press Ombudsman’s Office Mr Fitzgerald claimed that the report had breached Principle 1 (Truth and Accuracy), Principle 3 (Fairness and Honesty), Principle 4 (Respect for Rights) and Principle 8 (Prejudice) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines.
The editor of the Sunday World wrote to the Press Ombudsman’s Office stating that the newspaper stood over what had been reported and that Mr Fitzgerald’s presence at the funeral was confirmed by a Sunday World reporter and photographer as well as by three other individuals.
Mr Fitzgerald upon receipt of the information that the newspaper stood over what it had reported reiterated that he had not attended the funeral.
As this complaint could not be resolved by conciliation it was sent to the Press Ombudsman for a decision.
The issue in coming to a decision in regard to this complaint is whether or not the statement complained about breached any of the Principles cited in the complaint. The complainant is adamant that the statement is incorrect, the newspaper is equally adamant that the statement is correct.
Faced with such conflicting claims it is impossible for me to determine whether or not the statement is correct. In these circumstances, I find that there is insufficient evidence available to me to make a decision on this complaint.
21 May 2015
The complainant appealed the decision of the Press Ombudsman to the Press Council of Ireland.
Click here to read the decision of the Press Council of Ireland.