Tom calls the Liveline


* THE LEINSTER House obsession with RTÉ continues. On Wednesday morning, Tom Hayes, Fine Gael TD for Tipperary South, was elected chairman of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.

He set out his stall, saying the committee will get stuck into many issues, particularly in the areas of transport, tourism and sport.

“Communications is also an important sector,” said Tom. “Other committees have invited the board of RTÉ to appear before them, but I think it is time we brought in the performers and commentators in RTÉ, including the Pat Kennys of this world. We should examine that matter at some future stage . . . ” Then he noticed his colleague from Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan.

“Deputy O’Donovan is smiling but it is something we need to examine,” sniffed Tom.

“Like Liveline,” murmured the droll O’Donovan, still smiling.

Tom shrugged. “They are opinion formers and we should look at that matter at some stage in the future . . . ” It would be a grand bit of publicity for his committee too.

* Once upon a time, the sight of Phil Coulter in the House of Lords singing The Town I Loved So Well would have been unimaginable.

On Tuesday, Derry-born Coulter tinkled the ivories as Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness came to Westminster to promote the Maiden City as the 2013 UK City of Culture.

Robinson and McGuinness grew more and more chummy as the evening unwound. One spoke of “Derry”, another of “Londonderry” – Robinson telling his chuckling audience the city has “one city, one plan, one voice, two names”.

“There’s no place I like going to better than the city of Londonderry,” he said, grinning.

“There were too many ‘Londonderrys’ in that speech,” growled a deadpan McGuinness, as he took to the podium. The City of Culture title, he said, had been won because “Catholic, Protestant, and dissenter, nationalists, republicans and unionists” had come together.

And then the two boys moved over to the piano, positively misty-eyed, as Phil played.

In next week’s instalment of this heartwarming buddy-buddy story, Peter and Martin go to Belfast and meet the queen . . .