The Problem with RTÉ (Continued) by Joe McVeigh

I was pleasantly surprised at the positive response to my blog following the censorship of Joe Brolly on the Miss Byrne show last week. In an interesting follow-on piece in today’s paper, Joe Brolly elaborates: ‘What I would have said on RTE about a United Ireland’. He states: “When I said on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live debate on Monday night that the DUP is a short-term fantasy based on triumphalism, homophobia, racism, and sectarianism, I was intending to go on and make the point that only when we honestly call this out, can we solve the northern problem.”  Joe is right and he is right to point out the difficulty with the DUP.

Miss Byrne did not allow Joe to go on to explain. In today’s Sunday paper the producers of that programme(Hugh Ormond, editor and David Nally, managing editor) have a letter published which supports Miss Byrne which indicates to me that she was under orders to clip Joe’s wings before he could finish his argument.

I do not buy their argument that because Gregory was not in the studio to defend himself she was right to not allow him to continue speaking. This has never been the practice in RTE when northern nationalists ever get a chance to speak as I myself have experienced on a number of occasions. There are double standards in RTE. We are not asking for special treatment only for a fair hearing. It seems that if you want to convey the truth about the political situation facing northern nationalists on RTE you can expect to be silenced. Members of the DUP will be allowed to say whatever they like no matter how insulting it is to nationalists.

Joe Brolly happens to articulate what I and many in the north (not only nationalists) believe about the DUP. They have an irrational attitude to politics and to any suggestion that there should be a referendum on Irish unity. When politicians and journalists in the south claim that the time is not right for calling for a border poll they are merely giving this party a veto over any progress that was envisaged in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

Since my last blog on this matter, a number of people have expressed an interest in organising a boycott of products advertised on RTE TV and Radio and in the RTE Guide. I referred to a similar type campaign in the late 1980s and early 1990s led by Fr Des Wilson which I believe made a great impact. It was intended to have the maximum effect with the minimum of effort.

It should be much easier to organise a boycott against RTE nowadays with the help of Zoom and social media. The items to be boycotted have yet to be decided. They will be a number of goods that are often advertised on RTE. The only people to feel the pain will be the bosses of RTE when their revenue takes a further plunge.

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