Mulholland Falls


Joe Mulholland launching last year’s MacGill Summer School

This morning.

On RTÉ One’s Today With Seán O’Rourke show…

Dr Joe Mulholland, director of the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, joined Mr O’Rourke, while co-leader of the Social Democrats and TD Catherine Murphy was also on the line..

Dr Mulholland was responding to criticism of the predominance of men on the summer school’s panels.

Earlier, Ms Murphy and her co-leader Róisín Shortall said they wouldn’t take part in the event this year unless significant changes are made to the gender-balance of panels across all sessions.

From the interview…

Joe Mulholland: “There’s be at least one woman on every panel I think. So it’s, I suppose, it’s, if you want to say 25% roughly. And I know that this is not enough, of course. And efforts have been made by me, over the years, to balance, to have a better balance, gender balance, but then we have other balances that we look after as well, political balance or socio-economic, political balance and so on. So I have done my best, those who are close to me, who have advised me here in Dublin, on this programme, know that every time I see them, I say ‘let’s think about women’.”

Seán O’Rourke: “Yeah, well, what do you say to the comment made by Catherine Murphy, when you say ‘finding women with the right aptitude’, she finds that very offensive.”

Mulholland: “Well I think that was a wrong, it was, a call last night, fairly late, and pretty jaded, to be honest and that was a totally wrong term to use and I apologise for that and I withdraw it. It wasn’t what I meant. Maybe the right qualifications or whatever but it’s sometimes difficult and, I mean, the amount of women, the number of women who are on the programme does not represent the number of women who have been invited on to the programme but for whatever, for different reasons, just weren’t available. This is towards the end of July.

“It’s an extremely difficult time. Donegal is still quite a remote place. And it makes it difficult for a lot of people.”

O’Rourke: “Joe I’m looking at a tweet here from Sarah McInerney, a colleague here on the Late Debate and also presenter on TV3 or their politics show. She says that ‘Let’s see, MacGill. You could replace Stephen Collins with Geraldine Kennedy; Pat Cox with Catherine Day; Stephen Donnelly with Louise O’Reilly; Phillip Lane with Shannon Donnery – that’s in the Central Bank – David Quinn with Maria Steen and Fintan O’Toole with Justine McCarthy. Now there you are: one, two, three…that’s six.”

Mulholland: “Well, it’s not just a question of replacing those people. I mean, all have been chosen for whatever reasons, but it’s not as simple as that and a lot of time goes into this, as you can imagine of trying to get a programme that’s coherent, cohesive and, above all that, reflects, reflects social and economic and political life in Ireland. And, okay, I have failed obviously from the point of view of the gender balance.”

O’Rourke: “Just on the numbers, Mary O’Regan has done a tot, she’s the news editor in the Sunday Business Post, on your website. Fifty-two speakers of whom 12 are women. Catherine Murphy, are you not running the risk now, of yourself and Róisín Shortall’s withdrawal – that’ll make the balance even worse and it could ruin maybe and if other people do the same thing a really reputable and a fine, I mean it’s been making a contribution for what – 30 years or more?”

Catherine Murphy: “Yeah, Seán, I’ve spoken at the MacGill Summer School and we were very happy to do it in the past but I think that there’s a point where you do have to make a stand on something and I’m quite sure and I know Joe will have put a huge, and his team, will have put a huge amount of effort into the summer school. I don’t disagree with that. But the gender imbalance is so significant and if we’re talking about the future of Ireland and a new Europe, the challenges ahead, that can’t be done without women.

“Because they have been, they have not played a central role in so many ways in the design of the past. Your own wonderful programme last night on RTÉ – in terms of No Country For Women – really demonstrates that that has to change. And women have to be an equal part of this narrative.”

O’Rourke: “And to go back to Joe. Joe Mulholland, is there anything you can do, at this stage, to retrieve the situation?”

Mulholland: “Well I mean this, as I said to somebody else earlier on, this concerns that area of Donegal, Sean, that you know well. I would hate to have to abandon the school altogether, it has crossed my mind, but it would be irresponsible to do that. There are people, we fill all the B&Bs around the place, people depend hugely on that bit of extra money to send kids to school in the autumn and…”

O’Rourke: “I know but I mean, so you wanted to go ahead, but could you not, I mean women can drive to Donegal just as easily as men to participate in this. I’m just wondering if you should throw your net out again, maybe cast it a bit wider and, you know, that imbalance is actually worse than 25%. I mean maybe you could get it up to 35% or 45% by inviting a few more speakers or even going for a few all-female panels.”

Mulholland: “Well, look, Seán, if you’ve a few minutes on your hands maybe, you would come and advise and do a bit of work for me. But I don’t, let me not flippant. I mean there’s certainly no policy of not having women. Last year, I was just looking at last year’s programme. There was one panel on health. One of our key sessions – there was three women out of four, including, indeed Róisín [Shorthall] on it and Susan Mitchell [of the Sunday Business Post] and Rhona Mahony [ Master of the National Maternity Hospital] of Holles Street. So, you know, I mean nobody, nobody commented on that and that’s fine. But there is no certainly no thinking on my mind of: that women are not as good as men. In fact, I think they’re superior in very many ways…”

O’Rourke: “And in fairness to you, Joe, in your long career in RTÉ, you always made sure there was a gender balance in women who got promoted to positions, be they as presenters or correspondents…”

Mulholland: “I tried to…based on ability, Sean. Never as tokenism. And, you know, I didn’t believe in the policy of positive discrimination. Nor would very many women believe in it. But certainly promoting women, where at all possible, and I think there should be far more women in politics and there are not as many as we want and need and in our different institutions – some of which have failed miserably…”

O’Rourke: “I’ve taken my eye off the clock…”

Mulholland: “…disfunctionality…”

O’Rourke: “I really have to leave it. Look, Joe Mulholland, Dr Joe Mulholland, director of the MacGill Summer School and also my thanks to Catherine Murphy, TD for Kildare North, co-leader of the Social Democrats…”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: School’s Out

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64 thoughts on “Mulholland Falls

  1. TheRealJane

    He’s very keen to be clear that he would have women if they were any use but, you know….

  2. Fakey

    Going to be a pedantic fecker so ya don’t need to publish this but there’s an extra H in the first Mulholland below!

    O’Rourke: “I really have to leave it. Look, Joe Mulhollhand, Dr Joe Mulholland, director of the MacGill Summer School

    Cheers Broadsheet!!

      1. john colgan

        And it’s not just women who are left out, but anybody who takes a hostile view to the Church, so you won’t get repealers etc. He has two theologians, several ex-seminarians, the bould David Quinn, who iis a full-time lobbyist for the Vatican, and more besides, but nary anyone representing the opposite pole. An appalling abuse, given that it’s partly funded out of EU and other moneys. Besides, there appears to be two privileged speakers on every year, coz the contribute something financial to it, but that’s not widely known. You would never know that last year three quarters of the couples who married in Dublin City, and half of those in the country as a whole, did NOT marry in a Catholic ceremony but in civil, or other secular ceremonies. They and their children are the greater and growing part of the future, but Joe and RTE, from whence he springs, smother them out of public discourse.

    1. TheRealJane

      Mmm. Lots of people have been asking why the Iona institute are never off RTE and it’s this guy, isn’t it? Selecting for aptitude and failing to find it in women but finding so, so much of it in David Quinn.

    2. Cu Cullan

      That Mulholland was no stickie. He was and still is one of the most nasty horrible excuses for a human being. The very worst sort. Epitomises everything that is wrong in Ireland.

  3. Elron

    Ah yes, Catherine Murphy- who spoke there before there was any political capital in playing the equalidee card. Whats wrong wth people not going if they don’t like it? Like Gaeilge. If you don’t like it don’t speak it. Like the Late Late- if you don’t like it don’t watch it. Live and let live. God knows there are plenty of conferences with all female panels.

    1. mildred st meadowlark

      You’re one bitter excuse for an individual. Hope that chip on your shoulder doesn’t give you back problems in later life.

    2. Topsy

      Catherine Murphy – wouldn’t want to be listening to her for long. She has difficulty articulating a simple sentence.

    3. Cu Cullan

      That Mulholland guy is one of the principal reasons RTÉ is a sick organisation. He invented the total submission of the newsroom to his political masters. Fought for S31 (remember that) killed the career of every honest journalist and was happy to do it. Before Joe RTÉ used to make real investigative programming.

    4. rotide

      As much as i disagree with Elron a lot, he’s spot on with this.

      Catherine Murphy making an issue out of this is pure political oppurtunism. There was no mention of this ever before the professional victims on twitter got a hold of it and now its literally worse than Hitler. Why was Catherine happy to speak at it previously? Why is it such a problem this year?

      1. Listrade

        I think the answer to why this is year is pretty obvious Ro. A lot has changed in the last year and there has been a significant increase in attention paid to these issues. It might have got some attention last year, but obviously (despite your snide comments) this year it got more traction because there is more of a focus. It isn’t rocket science, just ignorance to not understand that.

        Changing landscape old bean. Times are changing. It’s been an issue for years, but more of an issue this year for a multitude of reasons.

        One reason being that there was a small issue of a referendum that resulted from persistent work by several female TDs. It’d be worth a debate on how this came about and the contribution of grass roots politics, what with it being a “think tank” and all that and an election looming.

        Instead we have clowns like Darragh O’Brien, a family FF member who failed at the first attempt to be a TD before being handed a nice Seanad job by Cowen to keep him occupied until he could have another go and can now advise and speak based on national and international policy based on his experience on Fingal County Council where he successfully managed to get Dublin Bus to put on a couple more 43s in the morning for the locals.

        But yeah, let’s just dismiss Murray.

        1. rotide

          Exactly. #metoo happened and now there’s political capital to be gained from stuff like this.

          I don’t actually think Murphy and Shortall are arch criminal politiicans like simpsons republicans but at the end of the day they ARE politicians and this is exactly the type of thing politicians do.

          1. Nigel

            There have been people trying to draw attention to the male domination of academic and other sorts of panels for years now, long before #metoo. It was inevitable that sooner or later this would come in for criticism.

      2. Nigel

        Nobody noticed this until somebody noticed it and now more people have noticed it and it’s worse than worse than Hitler.

    1. Rugbyfan

      This is rich questioning coming from RTE on gender quota.
      Monday to Friday RTE radio 1 schedule
      9 Ryan Tubridy
      10 Sean O’Rourke
      12 Ronan Collins
      1 news
      1.45 Joe Duffy
      3 Ray Darcy
      5 News

      Plenty of balance there lads….

      1. TheRealJane

        Aptitude. As Mulholland said, with a world weary shake of his head, he’s reluctantly forced to pack the schedules with men because there are just no women as good as any of them.

      2. rotide

        Yeah, they are such dinosaurs, they probably have an all male newsreading team on the 6 o clock news as well

      3. Clampers Outside!

        Why leave out the two programmes either end of that list?

        The biggest show in the country is Morning Ireland with 4 presenters, 2 male 2 female.

        On the other end is the second biggest listenership slot of the day, Drivetime presented by Mary Wilson, a woman.

        Why did ya cut off the programmes either end of the schedule… hmmmm, trying to make a point by misinterpreting facts, by the look of it.

  4. Barry the Hatchet

    “One of our key sessions – there was three women out of four […] So, you know, I mean nobody, nobody commented on that and that’s fine.”

    Why would anyone comment on that, Joe? Did you expect a fupping medal?

      1. george

        What he meant was: we had one session that had more women than men and almost all of our sessions have more men than women.

          1. mildred st meadowlark

            Hah! You can.

            I happen to like a little fuzz on my underbelly. Hides all manner of sins.

          2. mildred st meadowlark

            I’m trying to make you jealous.

            I suspect it’s not working the way I thought it would.

  5. dan

    But wait, what about the people of colour/trans/binary/disabled/gender non conforming people?
    I am outraged on their behalf!

    1. Janet, I ate my Avatar

      that’s big hearted of you
      Y en a qui ont le coeur si large
      Qu’on y entre sans frapper
      Y en a qui ont le coeur si large
      Qu’on en voit que la moitié

      Y en a qui ont le coeur si frêle
      Qu’on le briserait du doigt
      Y en qui ont le coeur trop frêle
      Pour vivre comme toi et moi

      Z’ont pleins de fleurs dans les yeux
      Les yeux à fleur de peur
      De peur de manquer l’heure
      Qui conduit à Paris

      Y en a qui ont le coeur si tendre
      Qu’y reposent les mésanges
      Y en qui ont le coeur trop tendre
      Moitié hommes et moitié anges

      Y en a qui ont le coeur si vaste
      Qu’ils sont toujours en voyage
      Y en a qui ont le coeur trop vaste
      Pour se priver de mirages

      Z’ont pleins de fleurs dans les yeux
      Les yeux à fleur de peur
      De peur de manquer l’heure
      Qui conduit à Paris

      Y en a qui ont le coeur dehors
      Et ne peuvent que l’offrir
      Le coeur tellement dehors
      Qu’ils sont tous à s’en servir

      Celui-là a le coeur dehors
      Et si frèle et si tendre
      Que maudit soient les arbres morts
      Qui ne pourraient point l’entendre

      A pleins de fleurs dans les yeux
      Les yeux à fleur de peur
      De peur de manquer l’heure
      Qui conduit à Paris.


  6. Andrew

    It’s pathetic how much coverage this talking shop gets, every year. Now this?
    It shouldn’t be given the oxygen. A quite typical media bubble story. They love it, talking about themselves.

  7. Dinny Do Well?

    Joe Mulholland. RTE.

    Enough said.

    The only Mulholland Drive that shower are interested in is on the golf course.

  8. The Old Boy

    Mulholland is the sort of man who reminds me of Myles na Gopaleen’s self-depreciating rants about “our indigenous hypoanthrope (or untermensch) Shaun O’Shaughraun” who refuses to follow his God-given vocation of turnip snagging:

    “If there is one thing about Shaun, you will be told, he will not snag turnips; he would prefer to be in the Civil Service.”

    1. Dinny Do Well?

      Spot on.

      He’s the kind of guy who reads the RTE Guide with it propped up against the YR Sauce bottle on the RTE Canteen table while a lady from Brazil on minimum wage cleans behind him.

      You know what they say about men with big pensions.

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