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  • Documentary Poses the Eternal Questions

    March 20, 2012 @ 10:52 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Politics was a subject of great interest to the late Nuala O’Faolain who was herself the subject of a fascinating documentary on RTE television last night. If you missed it, you should certainly look for it on the RTE website. (more…)

  • Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Taoiseach Speaketh!

    December 4, 2011 @ 10:35 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Well, there you have it. No great surprises in that, were there? It was billed as a National Address but really it was in many ways a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the coalition partners. Quite rightly, the Opposition are getting a chance to reply.


  • Willie? Won’t he? Resign? Gone at 9pm

    February 18, 2010 @ 10:22 pm | by Harry McGee

    The inevitable happened at 9 o’clock. The Taoiseach issued a statement saying he had accepted Willie’s resignation. It praised him for his contribution, made no reference really to the events that downed him. (more…)

  • How much do we really know?

    January 25, 2010 @ 1:27 pm | by Harry McGee

    Brian Cowen’s interview with Gerald Barry on This Week yesterday was one of his better ones. (You can listen to the full interview here.)

    He warmed up towards the end and you could hear from his voice that he was speaking in real English and probably gesticulating his arms, and not just coming out the civil servant nonsense lingo.


  • Brian Lenihan interview

    January 4, 2010 @ 4:29 pm | by Harry McGee

    Anyone who listened to Brian Lenihan’s interview will be struck by his optimism and lack of self-pity in the face of such a grave and life-threatening condition. You can listen to Sean O’Rourke’s (adroitly handled) interview with him on RTE’s News at One here.


  • Morning Ireland and 25 years

    November 5, 2009 @ 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.

  • Pat Kenny’s new show and the (other) only show in town.

    September 22, 2009 @ 8:53 pm | by Harry McGee

    I didn’t get to see Pat Kenny’s new show, the Frontline,  last night (link here)  but will look at it on the RTE player tonight when I get home. My colleagues thought it was very worthy and very heavy and didn’t have the ping you would expect from a brand new show.

    What did ye think? (more…)

  • Stark Honesty (for once) in Leinster House

    August 22, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Maybe it’s the Dog Days of August but there is an air of considerable fatalism in Leinster House these days. Talking to seasoned politicians this week, two strong messages came forward, both of them surprising to a greater or lesser extent.


     Gloom and doom at Leinster House (Photograph by Alan Betson)


  • Getting a Handle on the Crisis at MacGill

    July 24, 2009 @ 11:37 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It would be wrong to finish up a week at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal without contributing to this blog. One has not yet mastered the art of the brief, almost Twitter-like “soundbite” which other bloggers use from time to time. Our posts on this Blog are more like mini-essays and  hopefully therefore more profound.



  • The Words We Use

    July 13, 2009 @ 10:57 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    While we’re all focussing on the economy and politics, our civic culture is gradually crumbling away. Maybe not so gradually.


    O’Connell Street, heart of the city (Photograph by Cyril Byrne)


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