Tag Archives: Gene Kerrigan

Former presidential candidates Peter Casey, Liadh Ni Riada, Joan Freeman and Gavin Duffy on Claire Byrne Live for a debate during the presidential campaign


In The Sunday Independent.

Gene Kerrigan reflected on the advice Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, gave to the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald – about how she should wag her finger left to right while delivering a certain section of a speech she prepared for Ms Fitzgerald.

He also reflected on the comments made by Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton in his report on the Disclosures Tribunal in which he said that it’s a “hideous development in Irish public life” that public life is now so dominated by spin and meaningless public relations speak.

Mr Kerrigan also wrote:

Years ago on RTE, Pat Kenny pioneered the gimmick of rapid-fire “debate”, in which the guests made a few remarks, then Kenny moved from one member of the audience to another, lingering just long enough for the speaker to convey half a thought. Claire Byrne now has that franchise on RTE.

In the election and referendum debates, speakers score points and the specially selected audience applauds. It’s not only what you say that matters, it’s bringing in supporters with flinty palms that will make the most noise.

Even the title of Kenny’s original show, Frontline, suggested battle. And this is the dominant format.

Get rid of the audience. Debates are not talent shows.

Untruths and soft interviews abounded during the Presidential debates. You could say what you like, and the best the other side could do was deny, deny, deny – which in itself creates an image of having something to hide.

Live debates encourage lies.

Record the debates. Leave sufficient time between the debate and the broadcast for journalists to fact-check the claims of the speakers.

Then, at the end of the broadcast, spell out the programme’s researched conclusions about contentious assertions. That would stop the spoofing.

And it would relieve the programmes of the burden – which doesn’t seem to worry them – of being a transmission belt for lies.

Gene Kerrigan: ‘It’s time to fight this hideous development’ (The Sunday Independent)

Fine Gael leadership candidates Simon Coveney (left) and Leo Varadkar (right) on the hustings last week

Of the choice awaiting Fine Gael…

Gene Kerrigan writes:

…In the real world, the great majority work because we want to work, and it pays better than the dole, and it opens possibilities for the future.

The great majority of us respect one another. We are occasionally let down, but mostly we recognise ourselves – our ambitions, our fears and our satisfactions – in the lives of our neighbours.

And where our neighbours are brought down by circumstance we wish them well, we hold fundraisers and we send them cards with flowers on them.

And when we’re occasionally brought down ourselves, we’re thankful for the helping hand that keeps us going.

We don’t share the miserable contempt and suspicion of humanity that both Varadkar and Coveney have displayed in this competition between the second-rate politician and the third rate.

These wretched people, so mistrustful of their fellow citizens, are in the process of waving goodbye to a beloved Taoiseach.

A Taoiseach who lost an election in 2007, couldn’t get a majority in 2011, took a hammering in 2016, who helped fashion a prosecutorial system that can’t prepare statements for a trial; who presides over hospitals where people die on trolleys in noisy corridors; who can’t keep track of the number of scandals that have afflicted the police force; who still seems complacent about the number of people sleeping on the streets..

…And as he leaves, two of those who helped him make this country what it sorrowfully has been reduced to are competing to replace him. And doing so in campaigns that offer a little hope, wrapped in a whole lot of suspicion and hate.

Is This Really The Best Fine Gael Can Offer? (Gene Kerrigan, Sunday Independent)

Earlier: Five More Days



There you go now.



In yesterday’s Sunday Independent, Gene Kerrigan wrote:

Fianna Fail has for ages been demanding an inquiry into Nama’s property deals. Last week, when Mick Wallace put down a motion to that effect, they voted against it.

No, no, they explained, we can’t have an inquiry – sure, isn’t the Comptroller and Auditor General looking into this?

Yes, the C&AG is looking at one aspect of it. Just as he was last time Fianna Fail demanded a full inquiry.

The thoroughness with which Fianna Fail has betrayed its own members and voters, and the interests of all of us, is impressive.

It’s doing a creditable job of helping Fine Gael keep the lid on the Nama scandal, while simultaneously posing as the main opposition party.

As long as the political correspondents facilitate this deception, so long will duplicity prosper.

…Fine Gael and Fianna Fail voted down an inquiry on the basis that any State scrutiny will somehow interfere with due process.

With exquisite comic reasoning, the very fact the PSNI, the NCA and the FBI are disturbed by the smell from Nama has become reason for the Irish establishment to ignore the smell. Question: what don’t they want us to know? What is it makes them pretend they don’t get a hint of a smell from the festering Cerberus deal?

…Meanwhile, Standards in Public Office has published details of the state money politicians receive. I’d explain why the State gives politicians this money, but I don’t know.

Fine Gael spent €200,000 of our money on secret polls before the election, all the better to manipulate the voters.

Now, this polling, paid for with our money, gives politicians an advantage over candidates who don’t get a state subsidy. That sounds unconstitutional to me – perhaps under the ruling that prohibits one side in a referendum from using state funds to influence opinion.

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right (Gene Kerrigan, Sunday Independent)

Previously: Screech

Nothing To C Here

Via Mick Wallace


The final leaders’ debate on RTÈ on Wednesday night

The national broadcaster and the main papers kept the distorted coverage going.

Gene Kerrigan, in today’s Sunday Independent, writes:

Reporting on its exit poll [on Friday night], the Irish Times said, “An inconclusive outcome does not even begin to describe what we are left with.”

Ah, now, lads, come on.

You can come to that conclusion only if you’ve totally swallowed the propaganda that this election was about stability versus chaos…

…Fine Gael and Labour asset-stripped the people in order to implement policies which Michael Noonan, in opposition, said were not only unfair but obscenely so.

And then declared themselves the parties of stability.

And the media obliged by selling that message with ferocious zeal.

No one is more gullible than the media when convinced it’s doing a public service by sucking up to those in power.

…The most significant media intervention was RTÉ’s decision to frame the election as an exercise in which the four top parties were supposed to generate the makings of another of those Penny-farthing Coalitions..

…By cutting out everything but the four top parties, in the last debate before the vote, RTÉ obscured the reality of the election – and did so deliberately.

As I type this, I have one ear glued to RTÉ radio as the results come in. An expert has just explained that Enda and Joan made a mess of the TV debate because they failed to mount enough attacks on Gerry Adams.

…Enda and Joan and Micheal Martin could hardly have assaulted the poor bastard more grievously without tying him down with piano wire and pouring molten wax on his nipples.

Welcome to slowly evolving change (Gene Kerrigan, Sunday Independent)

Previously: Ireland’s Biggest problem Is RTÉ, Says Max Keiser


Gene Kerrigan-63192366dff06cf4fa31aaf422de79dbe4da3a98-s6-c30

Sunday Independent columnist and author Gene Kerrigan

Grab a large tay.

Because David Manning, of media monitoring website MediaBite, has carried out a lengthy interview with Gene Kerrigan.

From the interview:

Gene Kerrigan: “Generally the media – not always or directly – reflects society. We live in a fairly conservative society where people see politics through a narrow lens. You vote every four years, elect a government which then looks after the running of the country. When something happens, such as the water tax protests, media people are interested, but it’s not something they’re comfortable with. Then someone throws a brick, it confirms media people in their discomfort. They’re more comfortable posing the story as real politics versus throwing bricks. I think that mindset applies to everyone, citizens and journalists alike. I wish it wasn’t that way – I’d rather a broader interpretation of debate and political interaction but I think it is a very conservative country.”

David Manning: In terms of that idea of reflecting a conservative society, it seems like a contradiction in the sense that there is this movement that has grown organically, it didn’t come from the universities, it didn’t come from the established political parties, it came from ordinary people who can’t afford to pay. On the other hand the press appears to be representing another public, a more conservative public. What public do you think the press represents?

Kerrigan: There’s something I find amusing – the total absence of the right wing in Irish politics. For instance, Clare Daly would be described as a left wing TD, and she would have no problem with that. But the media never describes Willie O’Dea as a right wing TD, or Leo Varadkar, Brendan Howlin or Eamon Gilmore. Gilmore was Tanaiste in a government that implemented very right wing, Merkel-style politics. And yet he would be portrayed as left of centre by most media, simply because of the Labour label. Similarly, in journalism. People would describe myself and some others as left wing, and we’d have no problem with that. But no one ever describes the political correspondents as right wing journalists – even though they clearly report, approvingly, almost entirely within the consensus of the right wing parties. So there’s an invisible right wing, that is so much part of life that we don’t even have a name for it, it’s just seen as the norm. Anything on the left is identified as being somehow from ‘the other’. It’s from the outside. I don’t think the media even recognises that what is seen as the centre is way over to the right.”

Read the interview in full here

H/T: Miriam Cotton

Pic: Politics.ie

You may recall Friday’s editorial in the Irish Times concerning the ECB deal.

Here’s a refresher:

What does the Irish Times think? The newspaper that asks “Why?” published an editorial entitled “Frankfurt’s Way”.

It said the capitulation gains “more fiscal room for manoeuvre”. It gives Enda and Eamon “a political dividend”. And the task of paying other people’s debts is now “if not painless, at least significantly more sustainable. And the dreaded debt default has been avoided”.

…When the Irish Times writes of the “dreaded default” it insults those of us – and there are many, with diverse views on politics and economics – who believe that refusing to accept someone else’s debts is not to be dreaded. Politically, economically, legally, morally, it’s the right thing to do – default right back at them.

…”The pain will continue,” says the Irish Times editorial, and we must ensure that “Ireland sticks to its austerity programme.”

What is this austere “Ireland” of which they speak? We are not all in this together. The editor who stands over these words is paid €220,000 a year. How can he suffer pain from the austerity policies he champions?

All around us, lives are being crushed, real everyday pain is being inflicted and this is promoted by well-heeled politicians, media and academic types – none of whom personally suffers more than a slight inhibition on their elective spending.


More here: Snatching Defeat From The Jaws of Defeat (Gene Kerrigan, Sunday Independent)

 ‘Frankfurt’s Way’ (Editorial, Irish Times, Friday, February 8)

(Pic:’Irish Times/Cawley Nea\TBWA)