From top: Ryan Tubridy, Oliver Callan, Dearbhail McDonald and Richard Corrigan on last Friday’s Late Late Show; Abbe Marie McNally; Anne Marie McNally
It took a mimic to express what many are still afraid to say.
Anne Marie McNally writes:
It’s a thankfully rare occasion that I’d be sitting watching The Late Late Show on a Friday night and last week was no exception.
I never thought I’d find myself in the position of getting home late on a Friday night only to discover, courtesy of Twitter, that I’ve missed an actual useful, real and impartial public affairs analysis on, of all things, The Late Late Show.
Fast forward a couple of hours and a surprisingly fresh Amo awakes to find that those lovely Twitter people – as they are wont to do-have clipped the relevant segment and its rapidly going viral.
And why wouldn’t it?
Finally someone had found the courage to say what almost every concerned citizen is thinking, and not only did he say it but he persisted in saying it even when The Fear almost propelled Ryan Turbidy across the desk to try and stop him saying it.
They say the best comedy is that which cuts closest to the bone and nobody can argue that Oliver Callan is ever far from the bone however his comments on Friday night were, unfortunately, not comedy but genuine and honest analysis of a situation where the nexus between big business and politics has infiltrated Irish public life to the point that not only is the media which is directly owned by the omnipotent Denis O’Brien potentially conflicted, but the media outside his ownership is so terrified of his penchant for litigation that it too finds itself stymied.
The result, Mr Callan surmised (correctly in my opinion) is that the average citizen has a less than detailed understanding of just how toxic and sullied some of our public representatives and aspects of political and business life are in Ireland today.
Mr Callan pointed to the fact that the people of Tipperary continue to elect Michael Lowry despite the findings of the Moriarty report. Is this because they don’t know or worse still because they don’t care, he asked.
He then made the very valid point that our Taoiseach, despite rousing speeches in the Chamber calling for action on the findings of Moriarty, allowed himself to share public stages throughout the past 5 years with Mr Denis O’Brien, a person about whom the Moriarty Tribunal made serious adverse findings.
Later today the Dáil will finally get to debate a motion on Irish Water. The wording of the Motion has yet to be agreed but it’s likely to contain something representing a compromise/fudge from both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
There has been a bit of discourse in recent days about how, for many people, water charges are not that big of a deal.
While that may well be true, the reality of the situation is that Irish Water has become a very tangible representation of the golden circle and cronyism so rife in public life.
It can’t be far from many people’s minds just how connected the dots are if you draw a line between Esat, Moriarty, Lowry, O’Brien, Siteserv, Hogan, Enda and Irish Water. It’s like a paint by numbers exercise but the picture it paints sure ain’t pretty.
The vast majority of people I meet are suspicious that Fine Gael’s (& Labour’s) entrenchment on the water issue is due to certain future commitments or guarantees it may have provided to vested interests regarding the privatisation of water services.
That may or may not be the case but the fact remains that people’s trust has been so badly abused they now have a sense of unease about most actions of establishment politicians.
When you watch footage of Enda standing on international stages cosying up to Denis O’Brien after Moriarty has made his findings you cannot be blamed for wondering what the hell is going on?
When you know that Phil Hogan has a relationship with O’Brien dating back decades including a time when Hogan successfully sought donations from O’Brien for a FG campaign he was running and that this is the same Hogan who presided over the chaotic establishment of Irish Water, your nose twitches.
When you know that Michael Noonan led the Department which ‘missed’ the ‘unsatisfactory’ sale of Siteserv to O’Brien just before it went onto win 4 of the Irish Water metering contracts, you surely find yourself sniffing something rotten?
Unless you believe that all those interconnections are the most mutually beneficial episode of Blind Date ever, you’d hardly be wrong in thinking Oliver Callan hit the nail on the head the other night.
Just don’t wait for the media O’Brien owns to tell you that nor the other 50% of the media who are afraid of his over zealous legal eagles.
Anne Marie McNally is a founding member of the Social Democrats. Follow Anne Marie on Twitter: @amomcnally