I think it's important to go into the prehistory, a little bit to understand what lit the fire under the Press Council in 2007 effectively.
Newspaper and public sector bodies had been discussing the possibility of a Press Council of some sort in Ireland for way back to the early 1980s, when it was a period of considerable industrial unrest in Ireland, and trade unions started campaigning for a Press Council which they felt would give them a fair crack of the whip.
Nothing really eventuated. Then in the middle 90s, after the collapse of a big newspaper group, the government set up a commission on the newspaper industry, of which I was a member, and which all major newspaper interests were also represented.
The report of that body recommended the establishment of a Press Ombudsman in 1996. But nothing really happened after that. Nobody took ownership of it, and it wasn't developed in any sense.
Then after the 2002 general election, the then minister for justice, Michael McDowell, set up an expert group to make recommendations to him. And that expert group reported in 2003, recommending a statutory system of regulation for the press.
I think it's fair to say that that lit the fire under the topic in a way that it hadn't been lit before, and the press industry realised that if this eventuality was to be avoided, they would have to come up with something that was credible, authoritative, independent and on all these fronts sufficiently acceptable to government, so the government would not proceed with its plans.
They then set up the Press Industry Steering Committee, which negotiated and deliberated for some four years. That included all the representatives of all the major newspaper interests in Ireland, including representatives of News International and of the Mirror Group.
And it had a very significant, in my view, public interest input in that the chairman of that group was Professor Thomas Mitchell, a retired provost of Trinity College Dublin, and the facilitator of the group was Maurice Hayes, then a senator.
Senator Hayes, although he had some newspaper links, had an excellent track record as Northern Ireland's first ombudsman, secretary to the Patten Commission, and I think it's fair to say that both of those individuals would have underlined the importance of independence of any regulatory mechanism as a pre-condition for its acceptance by government, or indeed by them.