Tag Archives: RTE

JB writes:

The other day your correspondent wondered why the Spice Girls were the lead story on RTE.ie.

Last night, a Welsh footballer formerly at a second-tier English football club was the lead story – and although an alleged scumbag he may be, RTÉ believes he’s the only Welsh footballer in the world according to their bizarre comma placement.

In the wider news-world, the racist tug-of-war of the US mid-term elections is underway… closer to home there’s an intense debate about why and how the Irish health service closes its doors from mid-December until the new year.

Perhaps yonder Welsh footballer or 4/5ths of the remaining John Major-supporting Spice Girls might comment on the thousands of homeless children, the proposed shutdown of Anglo-Irish trading relations and the return of ethno-religious civil war in Northern Ireland in future RTÉ.ie front-page leads.

Previously: Zig A Zig Ah Here

Tonight.

On RTÉ 1.

At 11.20pm.

Syria: The Impossible Revolution.

A documentary by Anne Daly and Ronan Tynan, of Esperanza Productions, who say:

Three years in the making this feature length documentary offers unique insights into the roots of the Syrian Revolution and how what began as a peaceful uprising turned into a very brutal conflict as the Assad regime cracked down.

Syria – The Impossible Revolution seeks to unravel the roots and ‘complexities’ of the bloodiest conflict in the Middle East as well as the politics of the Western response.

It also examines why some elements on the Left are on the same page as the extreme Right defending the Assad regime against “US imperialism” apparently oblivious to the role of Iran and especially Russia and her indiscriminate bombing of civilians as well as targeting hospitals which many charge are warcrimes?

The film traces the roots of the Syrian revolution through the regime of Assad’s father up to the fall of Aleppo.

Using extensive archive and interviews with a wide range of people directly involved as well as experts on the region, the documentary seeks to offer some understanding about a conflict that has plumbed new depths in terms of the toll it has extracted on civilians.

Some suggest more than 500,000 are already dead, half the population have fled their homes and five millions are now refugees in Europe and neighbouring countries with little prospect of returning any time soon.

The film also examines the rise of the jihadis including Islamic State and Al Qaeda with evidence partly nurtured by Assad as he continues to present himself as “fighting the war on terror”.

Syria: The Impossible Revolution (Vimeo)

Thanks Anne

This afternoon.

Reg writes:

This afternoon’s lead item on RTÉ News. I am utterly lost. Is this even ‘Music’ news?

Spice Girls set to tour without Victoria Beckham (RTÉ)

RTE Director General Dee Forbes

Yesterday.

Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes appeared before the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Ms Forbes’ appearance follows the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland saying RTÉ should get an immediate injection of €30million in funding.

In The Times Ireland edition, Catherine Sanz and Kate O’Neill report:

It was suggested to Ms Forbes by Hildegarde Naughton, the committee’s chairwoman, that with a licence evasion rate of 14.6 per cent, if the revenue from unpaid licence fees were recouped it would generate €40 million, surpassing the BAI’s recommendation.

However, Ms Forbes said that efforts were already being made to collect fees from households claiming not to have a television and watching programmes online, but that the broadcaster needed funding now because it was in crisis.

…Ms O’Keeffe said that RTÉ’s operating costs were reduced by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2013, which was achieved through pay cuts averaging between 2.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent, in addition to a suspension of bonuses that has not yet been restored. Pay cuts had been reversed.

She told the committee that the cuts were not sustainable with maintaining quality. “In order to make good content, you have to spend money; our competitors are. For very high quality programming you have to invest.”

Ms Forbes also said:

“Our urgency is also reflected in the industry…Our commissioning levels to Irish production companies have halved over the last number of years. We were spending €80million on commissioned programmes. We’re now spending €40million.”

Meanwhile…

In response to a question about RTÉ’s workers’ different salaries, and pay grades, and transparency about the same

Director of Human Resources Eimear Cusack said:

“Again, much of it is down to legacy issues, in terms of how grades have built up over time and how different roles have morphed into different roles.

“You know we have an employee base of almost 1,800 employees, most of whom are governed by grades. So I think in the new model – because grades are tied to union agreements, etc, so in the new model, we would have, I suppose greater simplification and, I suppose, greater transparency because there will be less to look at.”

You can say that again.

Watch back in full here

RTÉ crisis ‘can’t be solved just by catching licence cheats’ (The Times Ireland edition)

Yesterday: Staying In This Afternoon?

A Shabby Sense Of Entitlement

This afternoon (approx 5pm)

The Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment will hear from RTE Director General Dee Forbes.

Via The Times Ireland Edition:

Dee Forbes will tell TDs on the Oireachtas communications committee this morning that the regime is “broken”, and that licence-fee evasion costs the state broadcaster €40 million a year.

“We would once again put on record our concern that the need for reform is urgent,” Ms Forbes will say. “Without it, there will be far-reaching consequences for our journalism, for national cultural and creative expression, and for employment in the broader media.”

Hmm.

Watch live here (approx 5pm)

‘Broken’ licence fee harming TV output (Catherine Sanz, The Times ireland edition)

Yesterday: A Shabby Sense Of Entitlement

Last night.

During the first live TV presidential debate on RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live.

Did you stay up?

Did you stay awake?

Bunty Twuntington-McFuff, real name Norma Burke, disrupted the debate as former Dragon’s Den star and millionaire Peter Casey was talking about how money really isn’t an issue for him – regardless of the cost of his presidential bid.

It wasn’t clear what was said by Ms Burke, who later tweeted:

President Michael D Higgins said he couldn’t attend the debate due to prior presidential engagements while former Dragon’s Den star Sean Gallagher didn’t attend because Mr Higgins didn’t attend.

Along with Mr Casey, former Dragon’s Den star Gavin Duffy, Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada, and Senator Joan Freeman attended.

It can be watched in full here.

From top: David McCourt with, from top: Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen, former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and RTÉ’s Ryan Tubridy

On Friday, May 11, 2018.

David McCourt was interviewed by Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio One, during which he spoke about his father, his career and his book Total Rethink: Why entrepreneurs should act like revolutionaries.

Mr McCourt, who has a house in Newmarket, Co Clare, and also bases himself in Dublin, London and New York, is the founder and chairman of Granahan McCourt Capital.

Granahan McCourt Capital is leading a consortium which is the final bidder in the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract, the State’s largest ever communications project.

Yesterday, the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten resigned after it emerged he had several meetings with Mr McCourt.

He met Mr McCourt in New York in July and he facilitated a birthday lunch for Mr McCourt and his daughter in Leinster House on April 18, a lunch Mr Naughten didn’t attend.

He also met Mr McCourt on June 26.

Mr Naughten also had multiple more private dinners with Mr McCourt – with one of them facilitated by Clare Fine Gael TD Pat Breen who has met Mr McCourt on a number of occasions, and who last night released a statement saying:

“Mr McCourt’s home is about 10 miles from my home in Co Clare. I have gotten to know Mr McCourt on a personal basis, have visited his Co Clare home several times and met him on other occasions in a private capacity.

“Last year, on the request of Mr McCourt, I asked Denis Naughten, then Minister for Communications, if he would like to come to a dinner in Mr McCourt’s house. Mr McCourt’s wife also attended the dinner. To my knowledge, the National Broadband Plan was not discussed at the dinner.”

Further to this…

Back in May, Mr Tubridy and Mr McCourt had the following exchange…

Ryan Tubridy: “If I could ask you a little bit about Ireland and broadband. And are you…”

David McCourt: “Surprised you’re gonna ask about that…”

Tubridy: “Well tell me about that. What…Are you the guy? Or how did? I mean we know that Eir were the last, or you’re the last people standing? For people who are sitting there, trying to get their laptop working or their, whatever they’re trying to get working, broadband wise and can’t get it. What are you going to do? What can you say to them?”

McCourt: “Well, first of all, the National Broadband Plan that’s, you know, been getting a lot of flak, is because it’s taking so long. But you gotta remember Ryan this is a very audacious, aggressive programme that the Government has put forward. And my hat goes off to them for trying to do it. And they will succeed. Every man, woman and child will get wired in this country. It’ll start in September.

“I know the press keeps on saying eNet is the last man standing but I’d like to think that it’s because everybody else lost. It’s not that we’re the last man standing, you know…”

Tubridy: “You won.”

McCourt: “We won. And everybody else lost.”

Tubridy: “Right. And do you think it’s realisable?”

McCourt: “100 per cent realisable.”

Tubridy: “Right. And is there a timeframe?”

McCourt: “Yeah, the Government issued a timeframe. It’s going to start in the Fall and every time I talk to the Government, they say, ‘I want you to go faster’. ‘Faster, faster, faster, faster’.”

Tubridy: “And are you in a position to answer that request with a positive?”

McCourt: “Absolutely and I’ll be in front of the Government on Tuesday for our monthly meeting. And the Secretary General and the Minister [Denis Naughten] will say ‘I want you to go faster, faster, faster’.”

Tubridy: “So all eyes on you then for the next few years?”

McCourt: “Well, look. I’m happy for that to be the case. We’ll do a very, very good job.”

Good times.

Related: Right To Know and the eNet saga: A Timeline (Gavin Sheridan, TheStory.ie)

Meanwhile: What happens when meet you Leo and you’re not a bug-eyed billionaire? Watch here.

Earlier: Pat Answers

Previously: More Dinners

Picking Up The Tab

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile…

Hmm.

Bewildered Student writes

Following on from your item [RTÉ omitting the landlord tax relief measure in the budget from their news last night], consider this gem. It’s quite breathtaking.

Did you know that this year 5 million will be taken FROM the Social Welfare budget to account for the free TV licences given to senior citizens.

You certainly won’t know from following RTÉ’s budget coverage (see above).

Now, see if you can watch [RTÉ News’ Economics Correspondent] Sean Whelan (above) deliver the ‘good’ Social Welfare budget news without hitting your screen.

*smash*.

Earlier: Ask A Broadsheet Renter

Presidential hopeful Gavin Duffy

This morning.

On RTÉ Radio’s One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Presidential hopeful Gavin Duffy was interviewed by Mr O’Rourke.

At one point, Mr Duffy accused RTÉ of being a “fan club” of Michael D Higgins – who is hoping to retain his position in the Áras.

A tetchy exchange followed.

Mr O’Rourke later asked Mr Duffy about his work for Denis O’Brien after the publication of the Moriarty Tribunal in March 2011.

From the interview…

Gavin Duffy: “I think in a situation where we don’t have a Government in Northern Ireland, I think we’ve to start building bridges again. I think President Mary McAleese did huge work building bridges north and south, and east and west, on these islands.

“I’d have to say our incumbent didn’t follow on in that work and…”

Seán O’Rourke: “But hold on. I was there, I was in Windsor, we broadcast two programmes when he was on the State visit to the United Kingdom. Surely that was a seminal moment…”

Duffy: “That was an absolute seminal moment and when the United Kingdom queen came here, in 2011, also a seminal moment, and it shows what, you know, sometimes we dismiss these positions as just ceremonial. The queen just bowing her head in our Garden of Remembrance did more than a lot of political speeches would have done.

“But, on the ground work in Northern Ireland has not happened, in this presidential term. Like it did with Mary McAleese and her husband Martin McAleese. That’s just a fact.

“And I know RTÉ is a fan club for the, the, the president.”

O’Rourke: “Hold it right there.”

Duffy: “Yes, Seán.”

O’Rourke: “I don’t think you can say that.”

Duffy: “Well…”

O’Rourke: “Without back it up.”

Duffy: “OK. You know, RTÉ paid out a large amount of money, so large they’re embarrassed to tell what it was, for the debate in the last election…”

O’Rourke: “That had nothing to do with being a fan club for Michael D Higgins. It had everything to do with screwing up the handling, the mishandling of a tweet…”

Duffy: “Well sorry…when somebody in your control room is saying ‘we got him’ and that’s the evidence – you’ve asked me to back it up, Seán. I mean I didn’t want to get into this with you…”

O’Rourke: “That was something that was badly screwed up. Everybody was deeply embarrassed. A settlement was made, it had to be made. I don’t think you can join the dots…”

Duffy: “Why is the settlement a secret, Seán?”

O’Rourke: “I don’t think you can join, I don’t think you can join…”

Duffy: “”Why is the settlement a secret, Seán?”

O’Rourke: “…from there to what you’re saying.”

Duffy: “Yeah, but why is the settlement a secret?”

O’Rourke: “Because that’s what was agreed in court and I don’t know the answer to that question by the way, I’m just simply…”

Duffy: “I know but do you think when it’s a licence payers…”

O’Rourke: “I think for you to make a sweeping statement like you just did, I just had to call a halt to it or challenge you on it.”

Duffy: “Seán I accept that but you are saying when I was making a statement that Mary McAleese worked very hard on making bridges in Northern Ireland and the incumbent hasn’t – it was in that context that I made that reply to you. We haven’t worked…”

O’Rourke: “She had a particular background there and as does her husband Martin. They were in a particular position to use that in a way that other officer holders, other presidents were not able…”

Duffy: “I know but Seán but why don’t you just…I mean, look it, President Higgins is doing certain things…strengths…”

Talk over each other

Duffy: “Why don’t you just accept – he dropped the torch in Northern Ireland?”

O’Rourke: “That is a sweeping political statement for you to make and no doubt I’m happy to put it to him if he comes in next, cause we hope he does or between now and the 26th [of October, polling day]. But in any event…”

Later

O’Rourke: “Again, a spotlight has been shone on your dealings with Denis O’Brien. You make the point that your did very little in terms of the hours spent working for Denis O’Brien. But the question is though, it’s about when those hours were spent. It was on the day of the time the Moriarty Tribunal was released. Is it the case that your prepped him? Effectively fed him the lines to use when he was being interviewed about that on the Six One?”

Duffy: “This is an awkward one for me Seán because I’ve been saying it’s very important to be open and transparent and yet I have to be conscious of a client and confidentiality and, you know, sometimes, I might have been asked to go and talk to somebody to have, and I’m not talking about the particular gentleman you’ve raised. But I might have gone to have a chat with him, to tell them to go a different route than they might have gone, etc.

“But. Look. Like accountants, like barristers, like lawyers, who advise clients, etc, that remains client confidential and I offer them advice as well and that’s what I was doing. But I accept what you’re saying.

“It was at a significant time. But over a period of 20 years, it account for less than 40 hours. I wouldn’t call Denis O’Brien a significant client but, you know, he is a very public figure and therefore it’s legitimate that I would be asked questions about him and I’m happy to answer them as best as I can and as fully as I can.”

Previously: Sean Gallagher: Biffo’s Bagman

Listen back in full here