RTÉ’s ‘The Week in Politics’: what was discussed (and what wasn’t)


I’ve just come from watching The Week in Politics on RTÉ. Over a period of some twenty-five minutes, Caoimhghín O Caolain TD (Sinn Féin) was questioned by the presenter and a Fianna Fail TD and a Labour TD about the Maria Cahill case.

He made two linked points which I believe are central to the matter. He said that anyone who knew anything about the claims made by Mairia Cahill or by two women in Louth who claim similar rapes at the hands of IRA men should bring it to the authorities, so that due process of the law could occur. He also said that Mairia Cahill said one thing about her conversations with Gerry Adams while Gerry Adams said another.

In his haste to get his boot in, the Fianna Fail TD said that he would take the word of Mairia Cahill any day before the word of …was it Gerry Adams or was it any member of the Sinn Féin party.  O Caolain said that statement was in itself revealing; I couldn’t agree more.  The fact is that the politicians and leaders of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the DUP in the north have accepted without question every claim made by Mairia Cahill.  For that matter, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have accepted her word  – or so I believe – that she was raped. She may well have been. Or she may not. When she had the opportunity to bring her case to court, she turned away. If she was in fact raped then I think that turning away was a terrible mistake on her part.

There is only one way in which this whole controversy can be resolved and that is, when those who make charges against people, whether that’s Martin Morris or Gerry Adams, produce evidence and bring their cases to court. Has Enda Kenny urged Ms Cahill to do that? Micheal Martin? The leader of the south’s Labour Party? The leader of the DUP?  If they haven’t, they should have. Otherwise people might think they’re happy to have the affair in the world of speculation and trial by media, in the hope that this will damage Sinn Féin and correspondingly enhance their electoral chances.

It’s a fundamental feature of media studies that any media text or message should be studied for, among other things, its source. Dependent on the source, the message offered will be given credibility or may lack credibility. It’s no secret that Ms Cahill has for some time been part of a republican group in Ireland who are vehemently opposed to Sinn Féin. Of course that doesn’t mean that what Ms Cahill alleges isn’t true. But it is something that should be factored in. If your enemy says something about you, there’s at least a chance it’s coloured by the fact that you are their enemy.

There was a final note of irony in the Week in Politics programme. The presenter, Aine Lawlor, having presided over twenty-five minutes of vehement discussion of the Mairia Cahill case, said “We had hoped to look at the matter of Irish Water this morning but we’ve run out of time”. Indeed. And last I heard, you had to cough up – how much was it? One hundred and eighty-four euro for a call-out? This has been a very good week for  water charges.

47 Responses to RTÉ’s ‘The Week in Politics’: what was discussed (and what wasn’t)

  1. angela October 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    I also watched this Jude and nearly choked when at the end the presenter said there wasn’t time to look at the matter of Irish Water!!! And yet the programme continued for a further 35 minutes Unbelievable.

  2. Patricia Davidson October 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Only 2 questions need answered here…1. If a rape took place why would the assaulted person carry on a year long relationship with a rapist..2. A court of law is the place to tackle those who did wrong, so why did Maria not proceed..a cloud hangs over this particular issue and in their haste to embarrass and hurt SF the media and Free State government are accepting everything Maria Cahill has had to say carte blanche.

    There are going to be some red faces soon but then someone once said, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. If it turns out that Maria had a relationship with this man @ 16 she was well able to understand what she was doing if not the magnitude of it. In GB this would not even have been taken notice of…why… Carnal knowledge rules, Ni 17 years, GB 16 years…

    • neill October 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      Once again with the smearing so much for SF being the party of the poor and oppressed…

    • mary lally October 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Patricia, you are echoing comments that may be closer to smear than to truth about the relationship between a 16 year old and an older man. Not a good idea. Apart from the fact that blaming a rape victim for being manipulated is wrong, smearing the young woman detracts from the real issue we’ve been confronted with this week, that Irish government parties and Dublin media are riding this story for all they’re worth in order to distract from the anti-water meter campaign. The government may take us for fools but will soon discover that the water issue will still be there, long after the Cahill case has been resolved or forgotten.

    • giordanobruno October 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

      What relationship do you mean? Is there evidence of a relationship other than abuse?
      Why do you think so many women who are victims of domestic violence find it hard to leave?

    • Dixie Elliott October 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      Patricia I asked Mary Nelis to back up these smears recently in regards to Mairia Cahill’s relationship with Morris and of course she couldn’t. As it is becoming clear that two other young girls made accusations of abuse against Morris and that they too had to withdraw due to intimation and taunts of being touts I’m certain that your party’s smears will blow back in their faces.

      All this crap about withdrawing from a Diplock Court, clearly geared to protect someone or something, is exposed in the fact that due to the pressures also experienced by the two other girls Mairia Cahill had to lift her child and flee to live in Derry until the trial began…

  3. Linda Dillon October 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m now wondering why the need for inquiries or court cases in relation to state and clerical abuse cases north and south are these victims less credible or less honest or believable than Mairia and if not then let’s accept that their accounts of what went on in state run institutions and put in place adequate counselling and support services and let the government make a personal apology to each and every individual victim and I see no reason why these same counselling and support services cannot be afforded to all victims of abuse whomever their abuser happened to be. I must declare an interest I am a Sinn Fein member but I hope that doesn’t mean as a woman, a mother a member of society that I am not entitled to an opinion. I am happy for people to know who I am and what organisation I am aligned to because Jude you are right people should know and understand the source of any information and then make up their own minds based on all available information the value of that information

  4. neill October 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    It’s a fundamental feature of media studies that any media text or message should be studied for, among other things, its source. Dependent on the source, the message offered will be given credibility or may lack credibility. It’s no secret that Ms Cahill has for some time been part of a republican group in Ireland who are vehemently opposed to Sinn Féin. Of course that doesn’t mean that what Ms Cahill alleges isn’t true. But it is something that should be factored in. If your enemy says something about you, there’s at least a chance it’s coloured by the fact that you are their enemy.

    I seem to remember in previous times on your blog you mentioned whataboutery you have now become what you used to dislike.

    You still seem not to have a problem about Kangaroo courts and exiling offenders perhaps you would have a little more credibilty outside Republican cliques if you were willing to clinically examine SF and cease complaining about oh little SF getting bullied.SF were very bullish about child abuse in the Catholic church and yet silence and no mention of people getting removed from their jobs but rather smearing M Cahill very telling indeed.

    • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Good morning/afternoon,neill. Good to see an early reader. So you’re saying you’d be happy if I joined the media mob and put the boot into SF? I think you’ll accept that my views are in a distinct minority in the media? As to ‘Kangaroo courts’ – how I detest that term – what would you like the IRA to have done? Contact the RUC? Mmm – I think maybe not. Shoot the accused? Don’t think that would have been a good course of action. So we’re left with ‘interrogation’: that’s what I’d want, either by a barrister or the only alternative, if someone accused me of rape. What about you?

      • neill October 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        Good Afternoon Jude you might detest the term Kangaroo court yet that is what it is. Heaven forbid it ever happens to your family but imagine if your son daughter or close family member was lifted by the IRA tried and sentenced in a court of this type would you be happy?

        • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

          I certainly wouldn’t, because that would mean the police were rejected by the community in which I lived, and the IRA was the only kind of policing available. And of course I’m sure you’ll acknowledge that the IRA sentenced nobody in the …oh God, do I have to use that hackneyed term again? – ok KANGAROO court – they admitted they didn’t know who was telling the truth. To the best of my knowledge.

          • neill October 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

            In this case they didnt sentence anybody in other cases leading IRA men were exiled for deviant behaviour as for the other well lonely deserted roads was were they were dumped.

            Its always interesting about the Republican community its always the Unionists or the RUC or anybody elses fault but never there own an inverted sense of injustice if you like

          • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

            I don’t think you’ll find that’s true actually, neill. I’m pretty certain I heard Gerry Adams apologise in the Dail recently for things done by republicans. Maybe have a rethink on that one?

          • neill October 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

            Yes for victims of sexual abuse what about the other crimes?

            Still he cant be blamed for things which happened twenty years ago afterall he wasnt in charge…oh hang on he has been in charge for the last 30 years my word he must be a brillant honest leader some pup indeed

  5. William Fay October 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    You continue to blindly defend the indefensible, unbelievable really

    • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

      What a revealing statement, William. So a case that’s brought to court and those accused are acquitted – that’s unbelievable? Mmmm. Maybe that’s why many in the media do a little swerve round that key fact. Not to mention your good self, of course…

      • Ashmount October 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

        Jude could you set out for us the sequence of events around the trial of these “decent people” so that we might understand if they were acquitted following a court hearing where all the evidence was presented and systematically overturned or were they acquitted because no trial with a full cross examination actually took place, since Maria Cahill declined to give evidence it seems based on the sequence of trials in relation to this case, and where her faith in how these were being addressed gave cause for concern.

        As you say, this is fundamental to the accusations.

        Leaving aside all the hype around ‘trial by media’ and as someone who doesn’t vote either in NI or RoI, I’ll make this point. The strength of Maria Cahill’s testimony is compelling and has been unshaken and consistent since the spotlight programme. Sinn Fein’s response by contrast has been dissembling and shambolic and remains so.

        Whether SF like it or not they are being tried in a court of public opinion and it is not going well. Some are saying if Gerry Adams had not been so strenuously in denial of IRA membership it would be easier to believe his story today.

        Finally am I the only one to be more than a little queasy about Gerry Adam’s teddy bear tweets. Why would a party leader seeking votes and a pensioner at that want to share that he sits with a teddy bear on his knee?

        • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

          Now there’s a question worth pondering…

          • Ashmount October 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

            “If you go down in the woods today…”

  6. Argenta October 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    “It’s no secret that Ms Cahill has for some time been part of a republican group in Ireland who are vehemently opposed to Sinn Fein”.Some of us wouldn’t have been aware of that.Could you give us specifics as you are clearly better informed?

    • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

      Well if you check the papers you’ll see. But if you really want me to put the relevant section I’ll see if I can lift you out of your cloud of unknowing, Argenta…

      • Argenta October 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

        If you’re coy about naming the specific group,at least give me a reference for the particular paper.It seems very coincidental that this alleged “morsel of information ” is only now coming into the public domain via republican bloggers!

        • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

          You are such a silver-tongued devil, Argenta. I’ll try to put the piece up…Now say thank you. Right. That’s better.

          • Argenta October 27, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

            Despite what John(241 am) says,I would still be interested in seeing the link you promised to put up.I thought you mentioned at one stage that you didn’t buy the Sunday papers but maybe you have other sources in the Republican community to guide you!

          • Jude Collins October 28, 2014 at 9:42 am #

            I’ve tried, I promise you, Argenta – it is technological ignorance and not conspiracy or lies that hold me back. Why not google for it? You know how google works, don’t you?

        • John October 27, 2014 at 2:41 am #

          @ Argenta – I believe this may well be the organisation (unless Jude knows otherwise)


          Disgraceful episode of ‘The Week In Politics’ by the way. Aine Lawlor managing to look even more smug than she usually does, added an extra level of disgust after the “Oops! No time left to discuss Irish Water”.

    • Dixie Elliott October 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

      Ah the old ‘Dissident’ thingy. My God aren’t you lot growing desperate Jude?

      I noticed you refused the interview with the Journalist which is not surprising judging by your repeated failure to answer my questions even with time to think. In a face to face I’m certain you would be slaughtered mo chara….

      • Jude Collins October 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

        You’re probably right, Dixie. Meanwhile, life calls…

  7. Perkin Warbeck October 26, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    As usual, Esteemed Blogmeister, one is one step behind you, having just caught up with the RTE replay machine of the Prime Time programme. If the title is different from Sunday Politics then the malady is still the same. RTE, being the broadcasting wing of The Unionist Times.

    The, erm, suite of options (a darling phrase, Joxer, beloved of the Group Think-Tank) is strictly limited.

    Though it wasn’t till I saw the Prime Time prog that I fully came to realize just how cold a house RTE is for thou and other like thou. A few hot toddies would not have gone amiss even as you tried, while balancing precariously on the arctic edge of Mount BBC in Belfast. Even as you attempted to ‘faux cos’ on what the Wheelbarrower, aka Brave Miriam of all that Delirium, wanted you to ‘faux cos’ upon.

    ‘Faux cos’ being Dort for ‘focus’.

    Or, maybe those hot toddies would have gone amiss, for that would have put you in real and present danger of ‘stumbling’ and ‘plumneting’ like Sinn Fein have done in today’s polls (3%) down into the abyss.

    Faux is right. There has been, has there not, been something rather contrived, possibly even concocted, maybe fabricated itself, about that which you were asked to ‘faux cos’ upon, something along the lines of ‘fee fee faux faux fum, I smell the blood of a Sinn Fein stumblebum’ from start to non finish of this current affair.

    For some reason while watching the Prime Time prog I kept thinking of a certain Hitchcock movie. Could it be that with all the huffin’ and puffin’ emanating from the Free Southern Stateen this activity rhymes with a McGuffin?

    The movie in question is the one in which Cary Grant found himself in the final scene clinging to the cliff edge of Mount Rushmore. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he found he didn’t like the way Teddy Roosevelt was looking at him either. Despite this predicament, he, like you, managed to survive the severe ordeal.

    Indeed, should they ever decide to do a remake of the Hitchcock movie, which involves a stitch up, on the runs and other contemporary Irish pursuits, you really ought to audition for the Cary Grant part, Esteemed Blogmeister. Apart from the train scene (where you would have to do a crash course in Dort-speak) there would be many advantages, like getting a whole bottle of bourbon poured into you, free, gratis and for diddly squat. They don’t do that in RTE no more, as you confirmed.

    Besides, you would get an opportunity to mouth the following not irrelevant line and which might be directed at the kind of ‘impartial’ guests and others of the spin doctorate which RTE has a habit of stuffing the warm house of their studio with: ‘In the world of adverstiing there’s no such thing as a lie. There’s only expedient exaggeration’.

    And you wouldn’t have to bother how the Wheelbarrower and Whelan might look at you.

    They might even call the remake ‘North by North East’.

    Speaking of Fianna Fail puts one in mind of the Leinster House Martin. This is the same house, incidentally, where Prime MInister Kenny’s hissy, prissy contributions to debates continually serve to remind one that the name ‘Enda’ is one of those names which can fit and sit comfortably under a his or her hat. Fancy that.

    Curiously enough, the only time Shakespeare mentioned the common house martin was in a context of heights, precipitous and dangerous, not at all unlike the cliff edge of Mount BBC in Belfast i.e., the turrets of Castle Macbeth, as King Duncan is being cunningly wooed to an early bed – of clay.:

    ‘This guest of summer
    The temple-haunting martlet, does approve
    By his loved mansionry that the heaven’ breath
    Smells wooingly here. No jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
    Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle
    Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed
    The air is delicate’.

    Note, this is in reference to the common house martin and not at all, at all applicable to the Leinster House Martin, aka, the lad with the delicate air.

    No way. Imagine he – he of the cheerps (at wooing or, coalition forging time) and cherrups (in time of danger). from that cherubic choirboy face of his – ever dream of taking advantage or even coign of vantage of a targeted rival.

    And though a member of the swallow family, has never been known to swallow the advice of adviser, advertiser or spin doctor alike.


    Time now for an unpopular and weary Perkie to plummet and stumble into the comfort of his faux leather sofa. (3% genuine leather).

  8. Iolar October 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Peter Tyrrell in his book, ‘Founded on Fear’ provides us with a narrative of a brutal regime in Letterfrack Co Galway between 1924 and 1931. The Kennedy Commission produced questionable findings about Industrial Schools and Reformatories in 1970. ‘States of Fear’ an RTÉ documentary on abuse in the industrial schools was broadcast in 1999. In spite of this knowledge, we now know that thousands of vulnerable children and young people were abused throughout the country. We will never know the number of victims who ended their lives as a result of ongoing abuse. There was no outcry about the fact that the State did not deal adequately with allegations of suspected and actual abuse of children and young people. There was a deafening silence from some sections of the media when children were being shot with rubber bullets, plastic bullets and actual bullets in the north of Ireland also. Noam Chomsky once stated that many commentators would be unemployed if they started asking the right questions in the context of investigative journalism.

  9. Cal October 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    The Labour TD called upon SF, a political party, to launch an investigation and a programme of actions for dealing with alleged abusers. What does he mean ? SF should appoint themselves into the role of the police ? Is that not what these parties have accused SF of in the past ? SF are now being accused of cover up despite calling on people to go to police and for due process to follow suit without fear or favour.

    Strange days indeed when SF are being called upon to set themselves up as a police service and ignore the role of the actual police and Courts.

    P.S The FFer saying Ms Cahill’s membership of a dissident grouping has no bearing on the credibility of her accounts, in particular to her accusations against Adams, is an insult to our intelligence.

    • Ashmount October 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      “Strange days indeed when SF are being called upon to set themselves up as a police service and ignore the role of the actual police and Courts.”

      Restorative Justice in the North was a good attempt by SF to just that. It was a fancy name for IRA kangaroo courts – sorry Jude…

  10. Tom October 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Jude you have been very consistent on all of this and it needs to be hammered home at every opportunity. Facts are facts but the baying hounds choose to ignore them. As my good wife (crawling) who is the most vocal for women’s rights maintain that no female who is raped would keep going back to be violated time after time.
    Keep repeating facts.

    • neill October 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      Fact no smear yes isnt it amazing many dont believe Ms Cahill but automatically believe a man who has a problem telling the difference between a truth and a lie that tells a very interesting story about the Republican movement

      • Jude Collins October 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

        How about believing neither and going by facts and evidence? Sounds like a good recipe for a court case. The sooner the better.

  11. sean mag riabhaigh October 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm #


  12. sean mag riabhaigh October 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Ms Cahill had her day in court and it didn’t go how she wanted so now she is playing out this farce through a compliant media to the court of public opinion. I’m a member of the public and I don’t believe her.

  13. Paul Devlin October 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Interesting also, that the military wing of the political group MC joined after leaving SF has. been and is still carrying out ‘kangaroo courts’ and meting out punishment bearings and shootings around NI. Ms Cahill left SF precisely because she objected to them cooperating with the PSNI. She then joins a group, part of which metes out the street justice she says failed her so abysmally. What are we to make of this?

    • Dixie Elliott October 26, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      You are making crap out of it. Mairia Cahill left SF in 2001 and they only supported the PSNI in 2007.

      Also where is this proof she is a member of this group Paul Devlin and please don’t go chasing the dogs in the street as that wouldn’t stand up in a Diplock Court.

      • Theresa Watson October 28, 2014 at 12:21 am #

        It’s just as well the Birmingham six and the Guildford four didn’t accept that the British justice system don’t always get it right.

    • giordanobruno October 27, 2014 at 8:36 am #

      She has issued a statement clarifying her position on RNU. You can see it over on slugger.
      Regardless it is a distraction from the issue of her alleged rape and interrogation by members of the Provos.
      She is entitled to her political views like everybody else.
      Even if she was still in RNU the questions about how she was treated as a young woman would still remain.
      We know the people named have said they tried to help her, but they, in contrast to her, have given no detail. Why?
      The questions about other abusers and other victims still remain. Who will answer them?

  14. Chris October 26, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Maria Cahill can meet TUV leaders, UUP Leaders, DUP leaders, FF Leaders, FG Leaders, labour Leaders SDLP Leaders the world Press. Yet the one time she has the chance to prove her accusations in an open court she walks away and fails to give evidence, Rape or not her actions did her and victims of rape no good what so ever. what is/was she afraid of and who is really pulling her strings, the truth will out and when it does where I wonder will all of the above ‘leaders’ be then, and the world press to boot??

  15. Norma wilson October 26, 2014 at 9:23 pm #


    I watched the program as well…. You never once mentioned that she is afraid to come home!

    I think the people in the South are wakening up to the shinanakins that have gone on here. Long runs the fox, in GA’s case he now wants to run with the fox and hunt with the hounds.
    You reap what you sew, and all his little ducks, are coming home to hatch.
    I believe Maria, and any full blooded women would, and those who don’t are just reprobates. The rest of you barring the very few descent ones among you, should be bloody well ashamed of yourselves.
    Women should be running this country, as all men have made a right mess of it.
    Blair, that’s Tony. Clinton, the ” I never had sexual relationships with that woman”, and of course GA, who knows all about the IRA but was never in it! Have a lot in common, it’s no wonder they all got along so well, liars liars liars.
    That’s twice now he has protected sexual deviants!

  16. Dixie Elliott October 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

    Hey Jude I notice that Warrenpoint SF and other SF groups were putting up the Sunday Mail article like election posters and quicker than you’d say Dublin SW they were down….

    Wonder what happened there?

  17. michael c October 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Dixie,I think you would find a more convivial atmosphere on Slugger or McIntyres “touting quill”.There are no Mick Faultys or Mackers here to applaud your every utterance.If you are so interested in how political parties handle these issues ,perhaps you could interest your imbedded journalist pals in covering the story of how those upstanding citizens in RNU handled a case in Belfast just a few months ago.

  18. madadhmor October 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Germany calling …………..

  19. madadhmor October 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    After all this talk, Ms Cahill (an attractive,articulate young woman) still hasn’t explained why she kept going back for a year to her house of punishment yet turned to jelly when she was later put in a room with her alleged assailant and traumatised. Pity she hadn’t Ms Travers of Ann and Jim’s Bill fame in the room to support her. This young lady has an axe to grind and it’s nothing to do with IRA interrogation nor rape.