An Irish newspaper in London has been hit with demands for an apology over its coverage of a recent visit by President Michael D Higgins.
The Irish Post, recently revived under new owner Elgin Loane, has caused uproar by claiming President Higgins had snubbed elements of the ex-pat community during his first State visit.
The Post , which is now edited by Murray Morse, had claimed that President Higgins had ‘delivered a huge snub’ to Irish people living in Britain by failing to answer ‘key questions’.
The Irish Times reports that the Post was ‘deeply unhappy’ about the length of time it was offered to interview President Higgins.
The ex-pat publication had to share a 12 minute question and answer session with the rival and much smaller Irish World newspaper.
The Post’s subsequent coverage of the visit has prompted serious complaints from Irish community organisations - many of whom had backed last year’s campaign to save the newspaper.
In a letter to the newspaper, Irish Ambassador to London Bobby McDonagh said: “The report accusing President Higgins of silence was misleading and disrespectful.”
The British Labour Party Irish Society has also criticised the paper.
“We are deeply shocked at the unnecessary and ill-judged hostility displayed to President Higgins,” said a statement from the Society delivered to the paper.
“The Irish Post has done a disservice to Irish people living in the UK. We hope that in future you will take more seriously your responsibilities to your readers and to the wider Irish community, especially given your proud record as a newspaper in touch with the needs, interests and views of the Irish in Britain.
“It is in the best interests of the Irish Post to rectify this misrepresentation of the President of Ireland with both speed and humility.”
Four organisations, including the Irish Elderly Advice Network, headed by Council of State member councillor Sally Mulready, and the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas, have also complained.
“Your attack has caused great offence to us and to the Irish people we help and support on a daily basis,” they said.
“President Higgins has been a great ambassador for Ireland. We saw a man who clearly holds Irish emigrants - particularly the most vulnerable - deep in his thoughts and actions and we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the President for his support.
“Your article was utterly misplaced, unrepresentative and potentially damaging to reputations of the entire community here.
“We do not want to be associated with the tone or content of the article and hope you will issue an apology for the unwarranted hostility towards a very good friend of the Irish abroad.”