herald

Thursday 17 October 2019

Trump office 'did nothing to protect Irish journalist'

Declan Walsh received help from Irish diplomats
Declan Walsh received help from Irish diplomats

The New York Times has said it was forced to turn to Ireland when the Trump administration refused to come to the aid of one of its journalists.

The paper's publisher, AG Sulzberger, revealed the incident during a speech at Brown University and in an opinion piece published in the newspaper yesterday.

Mr Sulzberger said two years ago the paper was warned by a US government official that Egypt planned to seize and arrest its Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh.

Mr Walsh, an Irish citizen who studied at University College Dublin (UCD) and Dublin City University (DCU), has previously worked for the Sunday Business Post and The Guardian and was Pakistan bureau chief for his current employer before moving to Egypt.

"We learned the official was passing along this warning without the knowledge or permission of the Trump administration," Mr Sulzberger wrote.

Punished

"Rather than trying to stop the Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believed the Trump administration intended to sit on the information and let the arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for even alerting us to the danger.

"Unable to count on our own government to prevent the arrest or help free Declan if he were imprisoned, we turned to his native country, Ireland, for help. Within an hour, Irish diplomats travelled to his house and safely escorted him to the airport before Egyptian forces could detain him."

Mr Walsh confirmed the story on social media, adding that the warning came after a story he had written about the death of an Italian student in the Egyptian capital, and when he had called the US embassy he was directed to speak to the Irish embassy instead.

Mr Sulzberger used the incident to highlight the dangers of Mr Trump's rhetoric on the press by adding: "In attacking American media, Trump has done more than undermine his own citizens' faith in the news organisations attempting to hold him accountable."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News