John McGuirk

John McGuirk (born 2 March 1984) is an Irish writer and political commentator. He is the editor of Gript, a website that has been described as conservative,[1][2] far-right,[3][4] and right-wing.[5][2] McGuirk is also a regular contributor to The Irish Catholic.[2][6][7]

John McGuirk
Born (1984-03-02) 2 March 1984 (age 38)
Monaghan, Ireland
EducationSt. Macartan's College
Alma materTrinity College Dublin
OccupationWriter, communications manager
Political partyFianna Fáil (-2003)

Fine Gael (2007)

New Vision (2011)

CareerEdit

He has worked in various public relations roles and as a communications manager for Declan Ganley's Rivada Networks.[8] He has been the editor of Gript Media, which describes its primary aim as supporting news and debate "without the liberal filter," since 2020.[9] He also writes for the Irish Catholic.[10] McGuirk has appeared as a guest on Irish broadcast media, including The Last Word and Tonight with Vincent Browne.[11][12]

Political careerEdit

McGuirk was a member of Ógra Fianna Fáil, of which he was national policy coordinator before resigning after a meeting at Fianna Fáil headquarters following leaking of e-mails in August 2003. He subsequently joined Fine Gael but resigned in 2007 after issues around a press release criticising the party leader with regard to Crumlin Children's Hospital; he later rejoined, then left again.[8]

McGuirk was elected unopposed as Eastern Area Officer of the Union of Students in Ireland in 2006.[13] The following year, he unsuccessfully sought the position of president of the USI.[13]

He was communications director for the Libertas Institute during its 2008 campaign against the twenty-eighth amendment of the constitution of Ireland.[14] Turnout was 53.1% and the amendment was rejected by a 53.4% majority.[15] McGuirk's involvement with Libertas continued through 2009,[16] when the amendment was revised and approved by a 67.1% majority nationally with 59% turnout.[17] During the campaign, McGuirk tweeted a photo of pro-choice campaigners at a march, who were carrying posters featuring the logo used by the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s. It later emerged that these posters had been handed out to marchers who did not recognise the symbol, by anti-abortion campaigners as part of what was described by the Sunday Times as "a dirty trick straight from Richard Nixon’s playbook".[18] When Libertas contested the 2009 European elections with three candidates, McGuirk issued a press release attacking the Simon Wiesanthal Centre without the approval of the relevant candidate, and later attacked the same candidate in strong personal terms in a Facebook post, before apologising.[8]

In the 2011 Irish general election, McGuirk ran as the New Vision candidate for Cavan–Monaghan. He received 2.4% of first preferences and was eliminated on the second count.[19]

He was spokesman for Save the 8th,[20][21] a campaign from the Life Institute,[8] which unsuccessfully campaigned against the thirty-sixth amendment of the constitution of Ireland to preserve a constitutional protection of the life of the unborn. During the campaign, McGuirk stated "If Dublin Central is 75% yes on the day (3-1), I will never take a political job again".[22] 76.5% of votes cast in Dublin Central supported 'Yes', and the referendum was approved by 66.4% of voters nationally.[23]

Views and controversiesEdit

McGuirk has been criticised for his characterisation of opponents, such as stating that Colm O'Gorman, head of Amnesty International Ireland, was a "cretinous stain on the Irish national discourse who’ll say whatever Soros pays [him] to" and the description of a pro-choice TD, Kate O'Connell, as a "catty, spiteful, loathsome twit" after the TD shared screengrabs of misogynistic tweets from a member of the Fine Gael National Executive.[8]

In January 2020, McGuirk defended Gript's link to the firm AggregateIQ, which had been found to have broken privacy laws during the Brexit campaign, and was also involved in profiling of Gript readers.[24]

In the wake of violence at anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protests by far-right groups in Dublin in February 2021, McGuirk defended those opposed to Ireland's pandemic measures.[25]

In March 2021, RTÉ paid €20,000 to charities nominated by the republican socialist party Éirígí after McGuirk, on an episode of Prime Time, falsely linked the group to the killing of the journalist Lyra McKee in Derry in 2019.[26] McGuirk later apologised on social media, saying, "I got my Republican groups mixed up badly in a slip of the tongue. It was of course Saoradh, not Eirigi (sic), who were connected to the murder of Lyra McKee. I want to apologise publicly to Eirigi (sic) for the error, and thank RTE (sic) for correcting it."[27] He was criticised by McKee's partner, Sara Canning, who said, "It's bad enough seeing tons of generally right-wing people using Lyra's name as a stick to beat everyone from Nicola Sturgeon to Nancy Pelosi, and now John McGuirk using Lyra's murder, on national TV, & without having the facts straight?! Enraging."[27]

In 2022, McGuirk sued Paddy Cosgrave for defamation for Tweets posted in December 2021.[28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McCarthy, Justine (7 March 2021). "Justine McCarthy: Grafton Street demo shows there's no unity left, only echo chambers". Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b c McGrath, Dominic (6 July 2019). "'Heartbroken': After defeat in 2018, what's next for Ireland's pro-life campaigns?". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  3. ^ O'Brien, Shane (21 March 2021). "RTÉ pays €20,000 to charity after Irish republican party falsley [sic] accused of murder". Irish Central. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Gardaí investigating apparent PULSE leak to John McGuirk's Gript". The Beacon. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  5. ^ McGovern, Eimear (24 March 2021). "Lyra McKee's partner slams conservative political commentator". belfasttelegraph. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Pro-life groups fund new website in response to 'liberal bias' in mainstream media". Business Post. 18 August 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Author - John McGuirk". The Irish Catholic. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Pillars of Society: John McGuirk". The Phoenix (magazine). 3 May 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Gript's Game". The Phoenix (magazine). 21 February 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  10. ^ "McGuirk's Lack of Goodwill to All Men". The Phoenix (magazine). 7 December 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Google Bans All Advertising On 8th Amendment Referendum". Today FM. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  12. ^ "What Is It You Would Have Us Do?". Broadsheet.ie. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  13. ^ a b "The Young Bloods - John McGuirk". The Phoenix. Dublin. 20 April 2007.
  14. ^ "Libertas executive director is Rivada employee". The Irish Times. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Ireland rejects Lisbon Treaty". RTÉ. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Libertas and Lisbon groups in sharp exchanges as treaty debate intensifies". The Irish Times. 26 September 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Ireland votes Yes to Lisbon Treaty". RTÉ. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  18. ^ Tighe, Mark (25 March 2018). "Will social media hijack the referendum?". The Times. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  19. ^ "31st Dáil - Cavan-Monaghan First Preference Votes". ElectionsIreland. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  20. ^ "No campaign defends booklet resembling official publication". The Irish Times. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  21. ^ "A livid John McGuirk has all the nuance of a grenade attack". The Irish Times. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Calls for John McGuirk to honour pledge and retire from political campaigns". BreakingNews.ie. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  23. ^ "It's a big Yes: Stunning victory officially confirmed as 66.4pc vote to reform Ireland's restrictive abortion laws". The Irish Independent. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  24. ^ Horgan-Jones, Jack (23 January 2020). "News website defends links to data firm that broke privacy laws". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  25. ^ McGrath, Graeme (3 March 2021). "Viewers highlight issues with panel for Tuesday's Prime Time protest debate". Extra.ie. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  26. ^ "RTÉ pays out €20k over John McGuirk linking Éirígí to journalist murder". The Irish Examiner. 18 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  27. ^ a b McGovern, Eimear (4 March 2021). "Lyra McKee's partner slams conservative political commentator". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  28. ^ Carolan, Mary (28 February 2022). "Web Summit co-founder facing lawsuit over alleged defamation". www.irishtimes.com. Irish Times. Retrieved 28 February 2022.