From top: A demonstration on North Frederick Street following the forced removal of housing activists from a vacant property on the street last week; Marian Finucane; Anthony Sheridan.

When RTÉ was a national broadcaster the station provided a reasonably balanced news output. In recent years, however, since the station began to serve government rather than citizens, news manipulation has taken precedence over factual reporting and professional analysis.

On yesterday’s Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio One, for example, listeners were subjected to an intelligence insulting, extremely short, cartoon-like discussion on the disturbing events that occurred on North Frederick street during the week involving Gardai and housing protesters:

Panelist: “In fairness, Josephine Feehily and Drew Harris came out and said, no, that shouldn’t have happened.”

Marian Finucane: “And yet and yet and yet..its tough on gardai. I thought it looked… I mean I was astonished at how it had come about.”

Panelist: “Look, there is an issue around social media , there’s no doubt about that, but look, we expect to see people in balaclavas in the Basque country or dealing with the Real IRA or whatever. We don’t expect to see gardai in balaclavas policing genuine protests about housing.”

Another panelist: “I think the public were very, very upset about it and I’m thinking of something Theo Dorgan said once ‘I thought I was born into a republic’ and you see these private balaclava-clad guards arriving in a van. But protesting has changed, I think the gardai are very measured in the way they handle the physical and verbal abuse they get.”

Then another panelist changed the subject by referring to a protest Ms Finucane had participated in 48 years ago. Ms Finucane, seemingly delighted at the diversion, went on to reminisce about another protest she attended in the last century – and that was it.

That was the sum total analysis of the disgraceful and disturbing events in North Frederick Street where the gardai behaved more like second-rate nightclub bouncers than a professional police force.

Possibly under pressure by her producer to keep discussion of this embarrassing Government/gardai scandal to an absolute minimum, Finucane, in a fluster, did as she was instructed.

“Mmm…well…ah…I mean..we’ll move on very quickly. I think that deserves more conversation but I’m just watching my clock here and…”

Watching her clock? The discussion was taking place just half way through a two-hour long show and this major public interest story gets a grand total of 1 minute 56 seconds coverage.

This is not news analysis, it’s blatant news manipulation. No doubt, Fine Gael and the gardai are delighted with RTÉ’s collaboration in this type of warped current affairs analysis.

But RTÉ cannot escape the fact that, day by day, its reputation as a professional and balanced current affairs outlet is reaching the same zero credibility rating as that of our police force.

RTÉ news bias – Destroying credibility (Anthony Sheridan, Public Inquiry)

Meanwhile…

Hmm.

Previously: Garda Sources Say

Meanwhile…

There you go now.

61 thoughts on “Nothing To Hear Here

    1. phil

      The Gardai need to appear more independent , as they are supposed to be, when the public see this, attitudes to the Gardai will change, there will always be a few nasty people on social media, thats just humans, and when those humans break the law, then the Gardai can take legal and measure attitude.

      When I saw the article you linked to , my first thought was media manipulation and the GRA undermining their new commissioner, that may be a cynical view on my part, however I haven’t become cynical on my own, I’ve been watching whats been happening around me for years. The tribunals have not helped either….

      No balaclavas and a statement from a community officer to the protesters ,
      1) There has been a high court order, Im asking you to leave peacefully.
      2) These men have been tasked with changing the locks on the door once you are out, the sheriff came to oversee the operation.
      3) We the Gardai are here to keep the peace, don’t interfere with the men accompanying the sheriff , they are acting lawfully , we have checked their paperwork. We are here to make sure both sides of this dispute can operate safely.

      1. Cian

        In an ideal world, and with people that behave lawfully, that would work.

        However, the protesters have already demonstrated distain for the law – they are aware that they are breaking the law, and that there is a court order telling to get out.

        They have already been given the “There has been a high court order, you have been asked to leave peacefully”. The fact they are still in the house means that they need to be physically removed.

        1. phil

          I hear you , you head may explode when I say the following…

          I agree they showed disdain for the law, but I wouldn’t describe what they are doing as ‘breaking the law’ , they were showing Civil disobedience, which in other words is ‘ the active, professed refusal of a citizen to obey certain laws’, This is a time honored tradition of protest . Im not sure how else they would make their point.

          There have been cases where ‘Civil disobedience’ in the past has now been seen as justified because of changing attitudes , for example
          Civil rights protest in Northern Ireland and parts of America in the late 60’s
          In parts ofEeurope during the 30’s 40’s by Hiding Jews in your attic ….

          1. Cian

            I understand the point of Civil Disobedience. However, you can’t argue that they weren’t “breaking the law”. They were. They may thing that the law is wrong. but they were definitely breaking the law.

            What do honestly think would have happened if a community officer had rocked up in the Bogside and asked the protesters to kindly go home, or asked Martin Luther King to stop his speech, or a Gemeinschaftsoffizier inquired politely if there were persons of Semitic origin in the Dachboden?

            Would the Bogside protestors have wandered home? Would the blacks have got back on the bus (down the back), would all the Jews have been handed over?

        1. CoderNerd

          Except the video evidence shows that wasn’t happening until gardai: a) started to insult the gathering crowd, and b) waving their batons around in a threatening manner. The gardai, behaving like thugs, escalated the situation.

        2. nellyb

          jes, you’re fallacious fella, rotide
          Negotiation skills, community engagement, crowd management and conflict resolution are the core skills for a modern police force. Lack of training in police force has nothing to do with protesters. (but I have hope for the new police chief)
          And same old cynical story: wronged must be well mannered in addressing grievances, otherwise their grievances are not legitimate. Very same attitude is highlighted by Black Lives Matter. Very, literally bloody, same.

  1. Let Freedom Ring

    In fairness Anthony you’re cherry picking the radio this morning gave a good savaging to Howlin on this topic
    But I agree Finucane is an embarrassment, a dinosaur, a sort of Maid Da Vinci on high powered Senokot for the SDCoCo and D4 rugger granddads and their blue rinse biatches who live in the old draughty houses on the hill in provincial towns

    1. millie st murderlark

      I really, really enjoyed the savagery in this comment. I shouldn’t have, but I’m a bloodthirsty wench.

  2. BS

    the head of the AGSI was on the radio this morning, saying that even though it was not policy for them to wear the fire retardant blaclava like they did, he would still support them doing so, despite what his boss said.

    The main problem here is the complete control of the narrative by the government, and the Gardai. They have refused to answer any questions about who the private individuals with balaclavas were. the head of the AGSI outright refused to answer that question this morning on RTE. he said that “the gargai have a duty to assist in the enforcement of a court order” and called the masked lads “a private security firm” but this was a CIVIL court order. Now if the Gardai believe there will be a breach of the peace somewhere, then they should turn up to stop that, but not roll up WITH a private company to assist them.

    No one knows if these lads were from a company, who they were, where they were from, if they were from outside the state. but these are far more important questions to ask than “should gardai be called mean names online”

    /Rant

    1. Giggidygoo

      Rumour is that the boys in the Thugmobile were Gardai too and that the vehicle is stored in a Garda compound.

      So is McGreal one of the favoured few?

      1. Brother Barnabas

        i heard from someone who was in the house that at least two of the “private security guards” had northern accents

        doesn’t mean they aren’t guards but unlikely

        1. Let Freedom Ring

          They really are. You often have amusing facts.
          I’m not sure whether they are actual facts of course!

        2. CoderNerd

          The Sunday World published pictures of the security people unmasked, getting into the van before it all kicked off.

          1. SOQ

            Well if The Sunday World was there when they got INTO the van, pretty sure the rest will come out in due course, including who owns it.

    2. Cian

      @BS “No one knows if these lads were from a company, who they were, where they were from, if they were from outside the state. “

      None of those questions are relevant.
      The court order gave the owner to right to physically remove the protesters.
      The owner can contract whoever s/he likes to do this. And is under no obligation to tell you who they hired. In fact, under data protection they can’t tell you who these people are.

      Do you also want the name, nationality and date of birth of the locksmith?

      1. SOQ

        Serious question, can the goons physically remove protesters or must that be the guards? I mean at what point would removal become an assault?

        1. Cian

          AFAIK the men employed to remove the protesters can physically remove them.

          They can use ‘reasonable’ force. The line between this and assault is quite fluid I imagine.

          The Gardaí are there to ‘keep the peace’ and ensure that neither side becomes violent.

      2. Giggidygoo

        The company name wouldn’t be anything to do with data protection. Would be good advertising for property developer types.

      3. Kdoc

        If they are acting as security guards then they must, as I understand it, ware photo ID.
        There are also some serious issues regarding their transport e.g. no NCT / MOT, no front reg plate and some reports state it had no tax or insurance.
        Great efforts are being made in the mainstream media to move the debate to the rights and wrongs of videoing Gardaí in the course of their work. Given what we now know about the workings of the Gardaí, there should be more public scrutiny of Garda work than ever before.

      4. BS

        you are incorrect on a number of points, and the questions are very relevant.

        1) a high court order must be carried out by the Sheriff or an agent appointed by them. A private security firm carrying out a high court order must be a registered company registered with the private security authority which means they must wear identification at all times and clearly visible.

        2) this was a civil court order, which the Gardai had no obligation to assist in the execution of. They may have been there to prevent a breach of the peace, but they appeared to be working with the private individuals.

        There is absolutely a reason to ask who these people were, who they worked for and why the Gardai allowed them to cover their faces, and use a van that was definitely not road legal.

        1. The Old Boy

          No. The Sheriff is only involved in money judgments and when entering a property to enforce a debt. I have dealt with the security/ID issue here before at length – there is a specific exemption to the requirement to show ID under Schedule One of the 2009 regulations (SI 332/2009) when they are acting for the purposes of protecting private property to which the public has no right of access.

          I had a think about this over the weekend and looked at the principal Act and regulations again. There is nothing to suggest that someone who wanted these class of occupiers removed from private property needs to hire a registered security service firm to do so. In effect, the owner could have paid six of her pals to come along as her agents and demand that the occupiers leave, and use whatever reasonable force was necessary to get them out should they refuse.

          The second point is correct – the Gardaí are only supposed to keep the peace and should not be involved with the removal of the protesters.

          In making these points I am not suggesting that there are not serious questions to be answered – there most certainly are – but I do think it is a real hindrance to any discussion about what happened when people headline their points with all this imagined illegality.

          1. Cian

            Thanks for this.

            Does anyone know:
            Did the Gardaí enter the premises at any stage?
            Were the Gardaí (actively) involved in the removal of the protesters?

          2. SOQ

            Okay as above, at what point does a removal become an assault? Let’s say a protester gets a broken arm or leg?

          3. The Old Boy

            SOQ – it becomes assault where the force used is “unreasonable”. This has been the subject of numerous cases over the years but the short answer is that what is reasonable is wholly dependent on the circumstances. A broken might be indicative of unreasonable force, but wouldn’t necessarily be proof in and of itself. A good yardstick is the minimum necessary force to remove a trespasser in a way that is safe both for the trespasser and the owner or her agents.

  3. rotide

    Usual pathetic new media ‘journalism’ on show.

    1 open with a a completely hyperbolic unsubstantiated statement ( In recent years, however, since the station began to serve government rather than citizens,)

    2. Completely fail to provide any important details (Noone apart from Finucane is named)

    3. Exhibit a massive lack of understanding about the medium you are trying unsuccesfully to savage (Radio shows have a running order that they must stick to. Even BOTT has some semblance of running order and that meanders hugely over time every week )

    Articles like this just show why we have MSM and why new media is so incredibly dangerous.

    1. Let Freedom Ring

      usual sort of post from pointless blog troll who no one listens to IRL – except on social media – making vague woman’s pains type of unpleasant noises about how crap social media type blogging commentary is

  4. Jake38

    ….”an intelligence insulting, extremely short, cartoon-like discussion”…..

    This discussion was short because Marian has to get back into her oxygen tent every 2 minutes.

      1. Let Freedom Ring

        +1

        It’s not a criticism but I’d have added that she needs to be carried to her nebuliser and probably the time interval would have been every minute in my telling of it

  5. Jeffrey

    tbh Im much more concerned with the last part of this article, The Justice Minister wanting to remove right to film/photograph Gardai doing their duties. The opposite I thought was the way to go? Body cam and more public scrutiny. Imagine having no pictures at all from Press or passer-by when Gardai are being heavy handed during an arrest? Even in the States we get pictures/videos of such event!

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