Sunday World makes unsubstantiated allegations against Bertie Ahern

Media Commentary: On Friday 24 November, 2000 a barrister, appearing for The Sunday World and its crime correspondent, Paul Williams, read an apology to the High Court and acknowledged that allegations made by Williams about Martin Hyland were “absolutely false” – this is the alleged criminal who was murdered last Tuesday, 12 December. By Vincent Browne.


The newspaper paid what were said to have been “substantive damages” to Martin Hyland in compensation, arising out of articles about him published in the Sunday World of 17 November, 1996, and 16 March, 1997. The allegations included claims that Hyland had been involved in the murder of Michael Brady, his (Hyland's) brother-in-law, and was one of the emerging “drug godfathers of Dublin”. In other words, Paul Williams was unable to advance proof of what he had alleged about Martin Hyland. Passing reference is made in the lengthy piece in the Sunday World of 17 December on Martin Hyland's murder on 12 December, to that 2000 libel action, dismissing the failure of the newspaper and its crime reporter to produce evidence to substantiate its claims: “He used the defamation laws to silence us”.

Paul Williams goes on in the Sunday World of 17 December 2006, to make a series of further claims about Martin Hyland, again without offering any back up evidence or substantiation, this time in the knowledge he is immune from another libel action because Martin Hyland is dead.It is evident Williams received most, probably all, of the information on which he  based his article of 17 December 2006 from the very same sources he based his 1996 and 1997 articles which were acknowledged to be “absolutely false” – ie garda sources. Williams claims, without attribution, that Hyland had an involvement in the murder of the Latvian woman, Baiba Saulite, in Swords in November; that Hyland was involved in a plot to murder him (Paul Williams) in 2003 (again no attribution, no evidence,  no sources); that Hyland attacked the homes of Gardai; that he was involved with another major criminal PJ Judge; that he was responsible for the murder of his brother-in-law, Michael Brady, who had been convicted of the murder of his (Hyland's) sister – this is one of the allegations stated on his (Williams'') behalf in 2002 to have been “absolutely false”.

But he goes on to make some very serious political points: that Hyland was in league with the IRA and Sinn Fein, that he was providing money to Sinn Fein for election purposes; and that Sinn Fein in its anti-drugs campaign had pointedly avoided any confrontation with him (Hyland) – the inference being because Hyland was funding Sinn Fein from his drug dealings proceeds.

If these claims are true they are of very considerable political and public significance. But Williams produces not a smidgen of substation for these claims, not even an attribution, although it is evident he got the information from Garda sources, who are not prepared to come up front with the allegations.He says “Gardai now know that Anthony Campbell (the innocent plumber murdered in the same incident) was shot just before the killers left the scene” and after Hyland was murdered.

Williams is beyond reporting what Gardai tell him, he is also to reveal what they “know”. And the explanation for this unlikely claim is that had the killer(s) murdered the innocent plumber first, they would have alerted Hyland who was asleep in bed upstairs. No explanation for Anthony Campbell's failure to run for his life once he heard Hyland being shot upstairs.The Garda sources of Paul Williams will have reason to be grateful, not just for the faithful relaying of their claimed suspects concerning Martin Hyland, but also because of that commentary pieces which states: “The overreaction of the government in the wake of scandals such as Donegal, has resulted in the scales of justice being titled in favour of the thugs who are terrorising the ordinary people of Ireland. …. The politicians and the mandarins in the Department of Justice seem hell bent on taking away the powers of the police. They want to turn the Gardai into a version of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the most ineffective police force in the world….,“Bertie Ahern in his efforts to assuage the likes of Gerry Adams has discreetly ensured that certain criminal activities of the Shinners are ignored by the police (again no substantiation)”.