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  • Sweeteners for Healy-Rae and Lowry

    March 19, 2012 @ 8:54 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Despite a certain curiosity about the content of the awful-sounding Tallafornia on TV3, I resolutely stuck with the National Broadcaster and its in-depth coverage of the deals Bertie Ahern made with Independents Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry five years ago.


  • Gordon Brown’s gaffe

    April 29, 2010 @ 4:07 pm | by Harry McGee

    There are few spaces in the world, visual or aural, that are now free from prying eyes and ears, most of them electronic.

    It’s more dystopian than the world poor old Winston Smith encountered in George Orwell’s 1984.

    Gordon Brown found that out to his cost yesterday. The video above give the full narrative of the toe-curling episide with pensioner Gillian Duffy in Rochdale. (more…)

  • Country and Western Alliance 2009?

    November 5, 2009 @ 8:55 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    A certain wag who worked on this newspaper some years back used to have great fun at the expense of aspirants for jobs and promotions that appeared “on the board”. His favourite witticism was to tell one or other of the hopefuls: “Your name is being linked to the job – people are saying ‘Joe Bloggs hasn’t a chance of getting that one’.” Oh the cruelty of it! But it was very funny and the victim usually laughed as well.


     Tá Máire réidh! (more…)

  • Morning Ireland and 25 years

    @ 2:55 pm | by Harry McGee


    I  watched Morning Ireland for the first time ever this morning, on its webcast (to find it check it out here). It was great to see David Hanly and great to hear that voice like a door on a rusted hinge. RTE peoople describe the above pic of Hanly and a gloriously moustachioed David Davin-Power as the ‘Starsky and Hutch’ pic.

    I toiled in the Morning Ireland vineyard for over two years between the Spring of 1996 and May of 2008 when I moved back to the rediscover the glory of the printed word, with The Sunday Tribune.

    It was a great place to gain experience of broadcast news and current affairs (my contacts book was bulging afterwards)  though I never really felt as comfortable on air as I did in print.

    Still they were great years. My own two highlights were a series that Niall Martin and I did on life inside the walls of Mountjoy Prison in 1996,  and a series I did from Sarejevo and Bosnia for Christmas 1997.

     Workwise, it was a hard hard station. As a reporter, you worked the four o’clock shift which meant you were working until midnight, but often well after that. The other shift started at 6am. It was unrelenting. The pressure of turning around the programme each night  was constant. We had a team of four or five working to fill an hour and a half (as it was then).

    My very first day on the job was traumatic to put it mildly. I was handed a Sony professional recorder and a microphone and sent out to Castleknock to interview the then Taoiseach John Bruton. He was canvassing with then Fine Gael candidate Tom Morrissey for the Dublin West by-election. My orders were to ask him nothing about the by-election but to quiz him on the Northern peace process which was going through a particularly sensitive phase at the time.

    I located Bruton in a suburban housing estate. Initially, he was glad to do the interview and was all cheer and bonhomie. But when he realised that I was going to ask nothing about Morrissey or about Dublin West, his countenance darkened and he whispered through gritted teetch (and I took it he was no longer in a mood of bonhomie)  that he didn’t want to answer questions about the North and why didn’t I ask about Tom Morrissey?

    I was nervous to begin with. I had never used a professional tape recorder before and didn’t have a clue about adjusting the levels. And because I had come from slovenly newspapers I didn’t have the crispness of question delivery that broadcasters all acquire. And Bruton’s countenance was that of a man who has just realised his pocket has been picked. I stammer and stuttered out the questions, none of which made much sense.

    It was terrible. The questons were terrible. The levels were wrong. Bruton was so annoyed that he spoke in a barely audible voice. You could hardly make out what he said. I winced listening back to my own shambolic questions.

    Fine Gael contacted the Morning Ireland editor as I drove back to complain about him being ambused in that fashion by a nincompoop who asked nonsensical question. The editor on duty that night decided to drop the item, a decision he would have made anyway upon listening to the unbroadcastable quality of the tape.

    The following morning, another programme editor Donal Byrne asked me how I had got on. I told him my sorry tale and how intimidated I had been by both the technology and the glowering presence of Bruton.

    “It was like being thrown in the deep end,” I said.

    Byrne replied quick as a shot. “You learn very quickly in this game that there is no such thing as a shallow end.”

    I have never forgotten those words.

    Happy Birthday, Morning Ireland.

  • Latest Poll . . . Joe Higgins, MEP?

    May 30, 2009 @ 1:37 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Campaigns matter. I always cite the example of John Major running for re-election as British Prime Minister in 1992. Almost universally written-off, he famously got out his soapbox and went on the hustings in a successful fight to stay in power.


    Well if they won’t have me in Leinster House, I’ll bloody go to Strasbourg (Photograph by Frank Miller) (more…)

  • The Mark of Cain

    April 29, 2009 @ 11:46 am | by Harry McGee

    The ESRI’s first forecast pointing to any contraction in the Irish economy was made only at the end of June last year.

    This morning’s reports on the institute’s spring quarterly economic commentary (see story here) makes for ghastly reading. A 9.2 per cent shrinkage this year. A 14 per cent contraction over the next three years. Unemployment to reach almost 17 per cent next year. That’s what it was like at the worst period in the 1980s. It’s even gloomier than that, says the ESRI. The landscape it paints is that of an arid dustbowl somewhere in California in the 1930s. (more…)

  • ‘Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end’

    April 20, 2009 @ 9:59 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    In these difficult times, everyone needs a good laugh now and then. They say it is the best medicine of all. In that spirit, I am offering the introductory paragraph of then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s statement when he announced an increase in the number of junior ministers from 17 to 20 on 20 June 2007.


     Brian Cowen in happier times with 18 of the 20 outgoing ministers of state (Photograph by Dara MacDonaill, 13 May 2008)


  • Fine Gael Rallies its Troops

    April 4, 2009 @ 10:55 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The Fine Gael ardfheis started off quietly enough last night. The high-point of the evening when leader Enda Kenny and Deputy Lucinda Creighton publicly embraced to show that their recent spat at the parliamentary party was now water under the bridge.


    Lucinda and Enda kiss and make up (Photograph by Frank Miller)


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