Sinn Féin, RTÉ and TV3

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Over the past few days, there’s been a social media outcry by Sinn Féin supporters that their party candidates in the election are not getting equal air-time with their political opponents. They’ve even created  a chart showing the major news bulletins on RTÉ, with a line through those that failed to include a Shinner. The claim is that RTÉ is taking  attacks on Sinn Féin about such matters as Thomas Murphy and the Special Criminal Court as part of their total air-time, and so disadvantaging them.

However, this outcry appeared to hit a bump last night when Vincent Browne’s show on TV3 came from Louth, Gerry Adams’s constituency, and Browne passed scathing comment on the absence of Gerry Adams, who’d been invited to participate. Browne pointed out the contradiction between Mr Adams complaining that he and Sinn Féin were frozen out on air-time, yet the party leader didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to appear on his show.

There a number of points worth making here.


  1. Browne is right – there is a contrast between SF’s complaints about exclusion on RTÉ and Gerry’s decision not to appear on Browne’s TV3 show.(His running mate, Imelda Munster, did appear.)
  2. However, let’s remember there’s a difference between being excluded and choosing to exclude yourself. I can’t become King of England or join the Orange Order because I’m a Catholic. The fact that I wouldn’t accept an invitation to become King or an Orangeman doesn’t invalidate the injustice. In the same way most of us would condemn a golf club that refused membership to women; the fact that many women wouldn’t want to join said golf club is irrelevant.
  3. Had Gerry Adams appeared on the TV3 show, what would have been discussed? Well we know the answer to that from Vincent Browne’s promise a day or so earlier – and from the opening of last night’s show – that he planned to grill Mr Adams on the subject of Thomas Murphy. I expect I’m not alone in seeing the case of Mr Murphy as a massive red herring which has nothing to do with the south’s election and should have been sent to the red herring graveyard long ago.
  4. As I say, Gerry Adams’s running mate Imelda Munster was in attendance at the show and I expect (I stopped watching after the first fifteen minutes) she was willing to discuss Sinn Féin policy in general and its immediate relevance to the Louth constituency.

So in fact the exclusion charge against RTÉ remains valid, regardless of TV3; and  Adams was probably sensible to give Vincent a miss, since Browne clearly was intent on a ding-doing about matters that have nothing to do with the election (Vincent said he would also have quizzed Gerry about IRA membership. Zzzzzzz…).

A final point: today’s Irish Independent has a front-page headlines about an “orchestrated” social media attack by Sinn Féin on RTÉ and Miriam O’Callaghan in particular over non-representation.  It’s only when you read further down that you realize the story is referring to the 2011 election, not the current one. Change and decay all around we may see but the Indo never fails to perform.



36 Responses to Sinn Féin, RTÉ and TV3

  1. Mick Fealty February 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    Of course he was right from his point of view not to face VinB. If I was his press handler I would have strongly pressed him not to.

    Browne showed last night that he is right across the detail of the Murphy case (including the withdrawal of key witnesses which undoubted was the thing that landed him in the SCC)

    But you also have to consider whether it will prompt people to ask whether Gerry is the new Enda? [Now you see him, now you don’t.]

    As for RTE, they are just trying to correct a profound pro SF/Labour bias from 2011.

    • Jude Collins February 18, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

      Mick, I know you jest: “As for RTE, they are just trying to correct a profound pro SF/Labour bias from 2011” would that be in quantity of coverage or quality? As to the Murphy -was there ever a better example of guilt by association? And the determination of the southern media to focus on events of 30/40 years ago? I grew up in the 1950s. The idea of a politician being deemed worthy or unworthy on the grounds of what he did in the Tan war or the civil war simply didn’t happen. But our media, presented with GA or M McG, can think of little else.

    • Ceannaire February 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      “As for RTE, they are just trying to correct a profound pro SF/Labour bias from 2011.”

      I’ll give you this, Mick, you can be a funny guy when you try. Fair play, that had me laughing for ages.

      Maith thú.

    • jessica February 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

      “Browne showed last night that he is right across the detail of the Murphy case (including the withdrawal of key witnesses which undoubted was the thing that landed him in the SCC)”

      I never saw the who, but how can you have key witnesses for tax evasion and what did they withdraw from?

      I cant imagine anyone saying I witnessed someone not paying their taxes over 9 years.

      • giordanobruno February 19, 2016 at 8:48 am #

        The witnesses were apparently in regard to whether the farm was managed by Thomas or his brother.
        A vet and a neighbouring farmer I believe. They made statements to the gardai, but for some inexplicable reason declined to appear in court

        • jessica February 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

          “The witnesses were apparently in regard to whether the farm was managed by Thomas or his brother. A vet and a neighbouring farmer I believe. They made statements to the gardai, but for some inexplicable reason declined to appear in court”

          To be honest gio, I wouldn’t appear in court against my neighbour over their business dealings either. Not because they would threaten me, but because I would feel like a snitch and I would still have to live with them and I wouldn’t be comfortable with that whether it is right or wrong. I expect a majority of people would do likewise. I would have no problem being in the jury but not being a grass over taxes or even welfare dodging. It is up to the state to police those things on their own.

          Criminality where someone was injured I would but not over business dealings.

          Either way, I hope you are not suggesting that warrants the use of special courts?

          I know this feeble excuse would be suffice for the establishment to allow them use the propaganda in their election campaign but I am more fed up with corrupt state activities from both London and Dublin.

          It is tie for change and hopefully that is the conclusion that the majority of the people will come to.

    • Patrick February 18, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Witnesses have to appear before a SCC though don’t they? Why would witnesses withdrawing from a regular court land the accused in a SCC?

      • giordanobruno February 18, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

        It might depend on the reason they withdrew. Perhaps they were afraid of ending up like Eamon Collins, a previous witness against Murphy.
        If that was the case it might well have led to the decision to have a no jury trial.

        • jessica February 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

          “It might depend on the reason they withdrew. Perhaps they were afraid of ending up like Eamon Collins, a previous witness against Murphy.
          If that was the case it might well have led to the decision to have a no jury trial.”

          How is it possible to have witnesses of tax evasion gio?

          It must be possible since you are confirming that they withdrew their witness, perhaps as you claim because they were afraid to end up like a confessed informer and British agent who was cruelly bumped off after the conflict was over at a time when the British were taking out agents in both loyalist and republican circles to tie off information streams.

          But why let speculation and hearsay get in the way of a good story?

  2. shay mallon February 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    my opinion of VB went way down after last night , he let the mainstream politicians off with murder and bullshit,as for the special criminal court how come he did not pull up ged nash of labour on their oppositition to the scc up until recently.

  3. Iolar February 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    There tends not to be the same hue and cry over the bombs in Belturbet, Monaghan and Dublin in 1974. There is also an apparent reluctance to engage in a debate about the manner in which the security forces used a range of agents to murder citizens throughout Ireland and now wish to sweep details of such activities under a carpet of national security.

    The proconsul is busy lecturing security sources in America about a “toxic legacy” in the way of getting legislation through to set up the legacy bodies under the Stormont House Agreement. Ms Villiers insists on retaining the right to withhold certain classified files from the public domain. The Secretary of State continues to resist the establishment of an international panel of judges to deal with legacy issues. Her argument is that the release of top-secret documents could compromise national security, potentially benefiting Islamic extremists.

    Back to the present. I wonder how citizens in America would view meetings convened in an Orange Hall to discuss housing development in north Belfast? It would appear that some worthies in the media seem comfortable with the elephant that is partition in the sitting room.

  4. Eolach February 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    Oh the anomaly of the media in the 26…Yes Jude they can concentrate on the happenings here 40/50 ,but only very selectively….at a time when Britain is under severe scrutiny , and unlike the IRA , they were the legally constituted government ,morally and lawfully obliged by international law , to protect all under their jurisdiction.. not murder and maim for their own nefarious purposes .One of the most heinous days slaughter was in their own 26 and undoubtedly carried out by agents of her majesty’s government….but what the hell ….there’s people about who might just rock the boat and derail that gravy train ! I’m brought to recall the Magdalene Laundries and the orphanages…..carefully ,but intentionally ,secretly hidden and unmentioned but we’ll collect for the black babies…..sure that’ll salve our collective conscience !

  5. Sherdy February 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    Had Vincent Browne been wearing his ‘impartial’ hat, after threatening/promising to have a go at Gerry Adams about his friend Slab Murphy, maybe he should have declared other possible targets.
    I’m sure there was a Fine Gael representative on his programme, and I thought maybe they would have been asked about Michael Noonan, that great financial wizard, who declared that he knew for the past 20 years about the sexual abuse of a young girl who has been named ‘Grace’.
    And the main question surely should have been why the estimable Michael, who apparently has a first class conscience in other areas, did not report that case to the Gardai, and said absolutely nothing in all that time which might have helped that young victim?
    But Vincent seemed only to have the one target in mind – on a subject which has absolutely nothing to do with GE16!

  6. WestportSam February 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    Jeeze Jude ,your Blogg Site was a haven of fairness & balance me after enduring Mick Fealtys years of pro Fainna Fail , and blatant Anti Shinner bias .
    For me himself Mirrium ,and her cohorts are one ,and the same .
    Yeah I’m off in search of a sick bucket .
    Keep the balance coming —- Please .

  7. ANOTHER JUDE February 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    The free state never suffered the way the north did, had the jackboots of the RUC or UDR or Brits been stomping round the twenty six counties the idea of mentioning smuggling would be laughed away. Total hypocrites, they have more in common with their fellow hypocrites the Unionists than with the Nationalists in the sick counties.

  8. Antonio February 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Vincent planned to quiz Adams about IRA membership zzzzzz’

    Spot on there Jude. I’m sick hearing about that. I’m sure many others are too.

  9. michael c February 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Jude,you’re not to particular about who you allow on this site.Mr Fawlty is even worse than RTE in terms of censorship!

    • Jude Collins February 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

      Well thanks Michael – I dunno if Mick would agree. And I do have my limits, as one or two people have discovered.

      • Ryan February 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

        Jude, you haven’t banned our Neill have ya? we haven’t seen him commenting for the past week and I’m getting worried……I just hope Sinn Fein’s jump to 20% on the polls last week didn’t drive him to the bottle and think there’s no light at the end of the tunnel……..

        • Jude Collins February 18, 2016 at 11:12 pm #

          Yes I have. Until he withdraws his claim that I support/supported the IRA or provides evidence of same, he’s out. There’s a limit to the kind of accusation I’ll allow anyone to fling around like confetti. Alas poor Neill…

          • Ryan February 19, 2016 at 2:33 am #

            Ahh, that’s our Neill all over, always making claims without backing them up. The man never learns. Neill’s logic is if your a Republican/Nationalist then you MUST support the PIRA or other republican organisations. Such narrow mindedness is definitely unhealthy.

            I understand completely Jude why you banned him, especially since your often on radio/TV or writing articles involving politics here, its a serious allegation to level at anyone but particularly someone who is often in public.

            Neill, if your reading this, take my advice and do the decent thing: if you have evidence to prove your accusations then show it but as we all know you cant because no such evidence exists then you should apologize to Jude then maybe Jude will permit you to re-join debates with the rest of us. Gio is an example of a Unionist who comments and debates with the rest of us respectfully and he certainly provides evidence if he makes accusations, and I respect his views as a Unionist even though I disagree with them.

            We all tolerate your views Neill, though hypocritical to the core they may be sometimes, but false accusations against someone is out of order.

          • giordanobruno February 19, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

            I agree that it would be good if neill made it back here. Although it all gets a bit heated at times he does help provide balance and keep things interesting.
            He is not the only one to have made unproven accusations about people on this site, but I do think he should probably retract.
            Thanks for the kind words by the way but not everyone that disagrees with Jude is a unionist!

          • Jude Collins February 19, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

            I don’t think everyone who disagrees is a unionist, gio – I’m not that naive…Skip the probably re neill. Some things are over the edge.

          • giordanobruno February 20, 2016 at 10:55 am #

            I was just pointing out to Ryan that I am not a unionist.

  10. Perkin Warbeck February 18, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Those of us with quite enjoy being discreetly annoyed, even unto the point of becoming circumspectly paranoid, Esteemed Blogmeister, find the only aspect of General Election 2016 coverage even remotely interesting is how the broadcasting/ broadsheeting wings of the Smokey Coalition deal with the mortal Shinners.

    This morning was as good as it gets in the governmental ghetto of RTE when Reykjavik O’Rourke did a number on – guess who ? – G. Adams. The reason why the RTE wrecking ball attained his sobriquet is because his icy Castlereagh interrogation technique is such that it evokes the biggest hit record of the Ice-maiden from the Icelandic capital.

    -It’s oh so quiet
    Shh Shh
    It’s oh so quiet
    Shh Shh
    You’re all alone
    Shh Shh
    And so peaceful until…..

    And that’s when Reykjavik O’Rourke really hits his stride by reaching for the screech button. It’s a RTE thingy. Now, as anybody from Paddyland who has ever been to the Land of Sagas will appreciate, the first thing you’ll be informed about by an Icelander is how proud they are of their shrouded Irish heritage. Which is derived, almost exclusively, from the, erm, extra-curricular activities of Irish monks of the 8th century who made landfall there in their half-a-walnut shaped coracles, of bullock hide made..

    Something about the Nordic ambiance which seemingly brings out the naughty in the naval.

    -You fall in hate
    Zing boom !
    You fall in hate
    The sky up above
    Zing boom !
    Is falling in
    Wow bam !
    You’ll hate a guy’s guts so bad
    You want to berate him until he’s had
    Enough crap to fill an incontinence pad !

    The main difference between the original version of the beatific Bjork (for it is she!) and that of O’Rourke is that he gave the hushed overture a push and got straight down to the biz of making room to lower the boom:

    -Zing boom ! Wow bam !

    While 20 % of Icelandic males share the same genetic characteristics of (erm) Irish hermits, a surprising (or not) 63 % of Icelandic females inherit same. Bjork is, obviously/ ni ga a ra, one of those. As is borne out by the getting on the wick and the blowing of fuses (O’Rourke) and the lighting of rushlights (Bjork) in her favourite Candlestick Park.

    In the northwest of Iceland there is a high-rise hill called (gasp) Irafellsbunga which translates as Sliabh na nGael/ Mountain of the Irish.

    -You blow a fuse
    Zing boom !
    The devil cuts loose
    Zing boom !
    So what’s the use
    Wow bam !
    Of falling in hate?

    Answer/ Freagra: the thumb’s up from RTE’ Radio’s ‘rival’ wireless station the, erm, Independently-minded Today FM. The technical term from the dictionary of telecommunications is (sob) DOBlication.

    The thumbs-up came from one, Matt Cooper whose show also got the bum’s rush from the Pariah who causes such paranoia among the paranormal anchors in the wireless studios. And the reason for his DJ-class delight?

    It allows Cooper’s slave-minded programme which is of wooden staves made, a deal more air-space to brown-nose such ersatz Eirepersons as Cascarino the Crafty Cockney. Who can tell a Buffalo Bill Cody a mile away.

    Know wot I mean, guv?

  11. giordanobruno February 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    I thin Mick is just referring to the substance of the article where it says:
    “But a study of coverage from the 2011 election found that “the outcome in 2011 meant Sinn Féin and Labour were over-represented with Fianna Fáil and independents under-represented”.
    You do seem to want to have your cake and eat it here. Gerry was invited to appear with Vincent Browne but the fact he chose not to only reinforces your theory of bias against Sinn Fein!
    Mind you given his poor performance with Seán O’Rourke on tax matters it might be better if he leaves it to Imelda in future.

    • Pointis February 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

      To be fair Gio, Jude or the many others who complained about RTE’s policy supposedly based on proportional coverage ( but with an added cap for Sinn Fein) was not related to air time for Gerry Adams but to Air time for Sinn Fein.

  12. paddykool February 18, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    I can’t help thinking you are right about this, Jude. even if you were not a Sinn Fein supporter anyone would surely have noticed how the reportage has been going.Mots of it refers to the past and references many things that were sorted out and ended with the Good Friday Agreement. For some there’ll always be some for whom wars never endand their bitterness continues to twist them out of kilter.You get the likes of Kevin Myers writing sarcasm and bile in the Sunday Times..(some change from the dispassionate “insight” team of yore).. banging on as though there was a war still ongoing and that the thing hadn’t come to an end some twenty years ago. The silence now after thirty years of mechanised war machines in the skies. Yes it has been over a long time now and the troops are all getting sand in their boots elsewhere instead odf getting trenchfoot in the sheughs of Co Armagh.
    Sinn Fein are still being hammered as the bogeyman because the Establishment down south are finally being rattled in their dozy compacency.It might be best to get out of the Irish context momentarily and look back as you did to the 1950’s and even the 1960’s in the wake of World War 2.Even ten years after the war ended Germany and Japan were no longer the “enemy”. We were busily buying their cars and their electronics. The World War ended in 1945 and just over a decade later , the likes of the Beatles were practicing their trade in the clubs of Hamburg. Time had moved on . Even after the horror of Nagazaki the Japanese could call it quits and look to the future. on another note , although i’m loathe to quote anything Biblical , surely , in refernce to Gerry Adams , his brother and the likes of “Slab” Murphy, surely he’s not his brother’s keeper.
    If a mate or an associate breaks the law , drives recklessly on the roads,is dishonest with his taxes or book=keeping or whatever , that’s hardly anyone else’s fault , surely. There are plenty of businessmen and bankers who are guilty of these deceits .It can’t all be Gerry Adams ‘ fault….Then again , maybe there is a whole lot of information sittting in a file in some press office that the rest of us poor mortals haven’t seen yet….

    • billy February 18, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

      where are you getting the idea of no more warships in the skies no more brits ect.
      get a house for a week facing camp twadell then the rose tinted glasses might come off.

      • paddykool February 19, 2016 at 8:59 am #

        Fair point Billy , but it’s a long time since the big chinooks with the nets full of goodies hanging down ,battered relentlessly day and daily over my own home. You might be less fortunate alright.Are they bringing in supplies to that wee lost tribe at that last isolated redoubt?

  13. Ryan February 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

    Vincent Browne is one man I really don’t like, for reasons I have went into before, in reference to his interview with Martin McGuinness (the first time I ever came across VB) in the 1990’s where he had an attitude that could rival Brit panderer Garret FitzGerald (interview still available on youtube). If your a Catholic crushed to death by a British Army vehicle then you “didn’t get it for nothing” was the tone from Browne, ignore the causes of the Troubles, ignore the atrocities being carried out by other participants, etc was the agenda of Browne but McGuinness did a good job of holding his own.

    So VB made no secret of wanting to hammer Gerry Adams with questions on Thomas Murphy, well at least he had the decency to make his agenda public but all the same if Gerry did deliberately dodge going on the show then he did the right thing. The intended show wasn’t a debate on Sinn Feins manifesto for government, it was for Browne to attempt a public flogging if he could pull it off. We seen such vicious attempts backfiring on Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show in 1994, when Gerry ripped Gay’s and the 5 other goons arguments to shreds, causing SF’s support to surge by 75% overnight (a statistic first announced by none other than our own MikeTV, Mike Nesbitt, whom was working for UTV then).

    But is Thomas Murphy even a member of Sinn Fein? We know he certainly isn’t running for election in the South or in the North, so why would he be a topic of debate? Will Vincent be inviting Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan on his show to explain the accusations made by the former Greek Finance Minister? That Noonan made no effort to secure debt relief for the Irish people (as he promised) but in fact fought tooth and nail to oppose debt relief for the Greek people? I doubt it very much. Will Browne be inviting Mairia Cahill, a Labour Party senator, onto his show to “grill” her on her alleged connections to dissident republican parties? Again I doubt it.

  14. Jim.hunter February 18, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    Great story.jude

  15. Eddie Barrett February 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    For what it’s worth Jude , I understood that Vincent’s programme was being taped on Monday night and shown last night ?

    Gerry , in the meantime was on his Nationwide Election Bus Tour and wasn’t he in Cork on Monday night ?

    • Ryan February 19, 2016 at 2:41 am #

      He was in Cork visiting and seeing the work of Suicide Charities Eddie , if I remember correctly and which RTE refused to report on. So Sinn Fein put a video of the event up on their youtube channel. Needless to say suicide is a growing problem in Ireland, I think we all know someone effected by suicide or who has taken their own lives.

  16. WestportSam February 20, 2016 at 1:32 am #

    Michael Noonan ‘didn’t want to know about sex abuse claims’


    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    By Daniel McConnell
    Political Editor

    By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
    Irish Examiner Political Reporter
    Finance Minister Michael Noonan “did not want” to know about sex abuse allegations involving children while he was health minister in the 1990s, a former Fine Gael colleague has claimed.

    Barrister Garry O’Halloran, who is a former Fine Gael councillor and also a former chairman of the South Eastern Health Board accused Mr Noonan of “doing a runner” in 1997 from a meeting to discuss concerns about sex abuse involving children. Mr O’Halloran said he resigned from Fine Gael because of Mr Noonan’s actions.

    The veteran minister is under fire amid the ongoing controversy about the mishandling of sexual abuse allegations at a foster home in Co Waterford by health officials as far back as 1995.

    Recent reports in the Irish Examiner have led to the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into the foster home at which a young intellectually disabled woman, referred to as Grace, was allegedly sexually abused.

    READ NEXT 300 jobs to be created in aviation and pharmaceuticals

    Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is “not sure” what action if any then health minister Michael Noonan and former junior minister Austin Currie took two decades ago after allegations surrounding the family at the centre of the south east foster abuse scandal were first brought to their attention.

    In a statement to the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Halloran said at the 1997 Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Mr Noonan had arranged to meet him and some abuse victims.

    “We arrived, he kept us waiting for hours, eventually I spotted him leaving the stage and heading for a door about 40m away, I was about 60m away and started to follow him in the direction of the door,” Mr O’Halloran has said. “He spotted me and ran, I then ran but he got to the door and when I arrived I was met with a cloud of black smoke as his garda driver sped away,” he added.

    Mr O’Halloran and his delegation then met junior minister Austin Currie who concluded there was no substance to the claims of abuse.

    “I went to the taoiseach, John Bruton, who said it was a matter for the minister for health. When I got no place, I then submitted by resignation from FG,” he added.

    Yesterday, the Irish Examiner first attempted to put queries about this matter to the Fine Gael press office, but we were directed to the Department of Finance.

    The Department of Finance said as this was a health matter, they could not comment.

    A Department of Health spokesman said he could not speak for Mr Noonan and referred us back to the Department of Finance, but also suggested we speak to the Department of Children.

    At the time of going to print, no comment was forthcoming from Mr Noonan.

    But Mr Kenny said he does not know if either senior politician properly examined the concerns after a former party colleague said at the weekend he resigned from the party in protest after nothing was done in response to his attempts to have the matter investigation.

    READ MORE Visit the section home page here

    READ NEXT 300 jobs to be created in aviation and pharmaceuticals

    KEYWORDS Sex abuse allegations