An interesting Twitter exchange this week concerning Dublin’s wannabe Private Eye magazine, The Phoenix, raises an intriguing question or two, notably who really runs the magazine and how will management respond to editor Paddy Prendiville’s disavowal of some of the circumstances surrounding the sacking of a reporter suffering from a suspected bout of Coronavirus.
The story began with this tweet from the magazine’s former reporter Eva Short, posted this Tuesday, complaining about her sacking by Phoenix management after she self-isolated with suspected Coronavirus symptoms, and the decision to replace her with an intern whose qualification should be, wait for it, ‘five years experience’ as a journalist:
As a matter of interest, this is how the Cambridge English Dictionary defines the word intern: ‘…a student, or someone who has recently finished theirstudies, who works for a company or organization for a short time, sometimes without being paid, in orderto get experience of a particular type of work‘.So, how does the demand for ‘Five years experience’ square with that?!?!
Three days later came this tweet from Phoenix magazine editor, Paddy Prendiville and his deputy, Paul Farrelly distancing themselves from what they called ‘the recent recruitment advertisement for an intern’, The Tweet, however, shed no light on their involvement or otherwise in the sacking of the unfortunate Eva Short:
Phoenix magazine was founded by the late John Mulcahy, who gave this writer his first full-time job in Irish journalism in the weekly magazine Hibernia. He also recruited the current Phoenix editor Paddy Prendiville and later was credited by staff for rescuing Prendiville from the clutches of the Metropolitan Special Branch not long after he was put on the payroll.
The London police had arrested Prendiville during an investigation of an IRA plot to spring the late Brian Keenan from Brixton jail where he was awaiting trial on charges of masterminding a bombing camapign in England. Prendiville, whose brother Kiaran was an English TV star during this time, was eventually freed and faced no charges.
Staff at Hibernia suspected that Mulcahy had asked Charlie Haughey to intervene.Whatever the truth, journalists at Hibernia soon believed that a special bond had been created between Mulcahy and Prendiville.
You can read more of John Mulcahy’s varied career in Irish journalism here, not least his role in creating The Sunday Tribune.
In a move indicative of their new friendship, Prendiville followed Mulcahy into Phoenix and eventually became editor. These days the magazine is apparently owned by Mulcahy’s son, Aengus.
How the Mulcahy family view Prendiville’s defiance is an item that qualifies for coverage in Phoenix’s Goldhawk column but doubtless that won’t happen. In which case, dear readers, you can always send material to the elbow!