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Reader takes daily to press watchdog over parade prediction

A daily newspaper was taken to the press watchdog after relying on predicted attendance figures for its coverage of a march.

Alan Barr complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation after the Irish News reported 2,000 Orangemen had taken part in a St Patrick’s Day parade near Slemish hill, pictured, in County Antrim.

Complaining under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Mr Barr said that he had been present for the march, which had lasted approximately one hour and had, at most, 100 participants.

Denying a breach of the Code, the News said the organisers of the parade had predicted that 2,000 participants and 5,000 spectators were expected to be involved from 12pm to 2pm and then from 3pm to 6pm, and it had based its coverage on this information.


The Belfast-based daily added it had taken care over the accuracy of the story by contacting the organisers for comment and speaking to various witnesses.

After IPSO began an investigation into the matter, the News offered to publish an online footnote clarifying that the actual attendance was substantially lower that the figure given to the Parades Commission.

This resolved the matter to Mr Barr’s satisfaction and the investigation was therefore discontinued.

The full resolution statement can be read here.