REPRESENTING THE NUJ

_20200101_1849408707635111008855041.jpgMembers of the National Union of Journalists in Ireland (Republic of) are voting in an election to select two members to represent them on the union’s National Executive Council for the next two years, starting in April.

NUJ headquarters sent out an email on 19th December on behalf of the seven people, all union activists, putting themselves forward in the ballot:

Dara Bradley & Damien Tiernan (Job-share); Gerry Curran & Fran McNulty (Job-share); Michael Fisher, and Emma O Kelly & Saoirse McGarrigle (Job-Share). The views expressed in the campaign material are those of the candidates and not necessarily those of the Union and as such, the National Union of Journalists does not accept liability.

MICHAEL FISHER

 VOTE FISHER #1

There are a number of reasons I am seeking your no.1 vote and to represent you for another term on the National Executive Council (NEC). 

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING

First, the future of public service broadcasting. At our recent Biennial Delegate Conference in Dublin, a campaign was launched, “It’s your RTÉ: Save it! Sabháil RTÉ: Is leatsa é!” I was pleased to support the campaign along with some of my former RTÉ colleagues who were being awarded NUJ life membership. I was among the speakers at Conference criticising successive governments that have refused to provide adequate funding for RTÉ by reforming the licence fee. RTÉ management has failed to present a realistic, strategic plan for the organisation. . 

FUTURE OF THE UNION

There is an urgent need to examine closely the union’s finances. The NEC Finance Committee of which I am a member has considered proposals, which I have commented on at meetings and supported. If the union is to remain an independent voice for journalism rather than be merged with a larger union, members must now take urgent action and decide on an increase in union subscriptions. 

REGIONAL NEWSPAPERS 

As a journalist with a Co. Monaghan paper, I continue to represent my colleagues at chapel level. I served on the Irish Executive Council (IEC) representing regional newspapers 2017-19. The union objected to the proposed acquisition of Celtic Media by Independent News and Media. I made a submission to the Broadcasting Authority, stressing the importance of diversity of ownership. At the IEC biennial delegate conference (BDC) in November 2017 I spoke on reports that the businessman Denis O’Brien of Independent News and Media (INM) was attempting to take over Celtic Media Group (regional newspaper company). I said there must be a limit to which the likes of Denis O’Brien could go. “Local newspapers are at the heart of communities, reporting sports, courts and council matters. The whole future of this coverage is at threat because of ownership structures and that is why we need changes to the current (Irish) competition legislation.”

MEDIA FREEDOM 

Following the killing of Lyra McKee I attended vigils in Derry and Dungannon and helped organise an NUJ tribute at her funeral in Belfast. A few weeks later, I took part in the annual Irish Congress of Trade Unions May Day parade in Belfast. This year I acted as a steward. It was a very poignant occasion as the NUJ was given pride of position at the head of the parade carrying pictures in tribute to Lyra, who was shot dead in Derry during rioting. 

The previous day, UN World Press Freedom Day, Belfast and District Branch organised an important conference in conjunction with the United Nations Association (Northern Ireland) on safety for journalists, which I spoke at. 

As a member of the NEC Finance Committee I commended the legal officer’s work to support investigative journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney in the aftermath of police raids on their homes and office arising from their documentary “No Stone Unturned”. The Belfast High Court decision quashing warrants for their arrest was a significant vindication of the NUJ Code of Conduct. They continue to need our support. 

UNION OFFICES 

I am Chair of Irish Eastern Branch and currently represent the NEC on the Irish Executive Council, of which I am a former Cathaoirleach. Since joining the London Radio Branch in 1974, I have held chapel and branch offices in Birmingham, Dublin, Belfast, Monaghan and am now a life member. 

I attended and participated in Delegate Meetings on various occasions since Glasgow in 1989. Other offices held include Chair of the IEC Northern Ireland sub committee 2009-2014 and NI representative on the Council. I have served on the Broadcasting Industrial Council, Ethics Council, and was a member of the Appeals Tribunal 2016-18. 

VOTE FISHER #1 

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2 thoughts on “REPRESENTING THE NUJ

  1. As a j/s NEC rep for the north, I urge all NUJ colleagues in Michael’s constituency to support this j/s ticket. Michael knows how the union works and can represent your interests very effectively.

    • Thanks for the support Ciarán. I am standing as a single candidate. The others are taking a different approach and opting for jobshare, and the good thing is that an election is taking place, unlike two years ago when Gerry Curran and myself were returned without a contest. All the candidates are union activists as you will see from the section of the section of the campaign literature under “union offices held”.

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