Picks of the Week – First Communions, Protestant Gaels, Squaddies and Stuckness

There’s a lot of highfalutin political goings on at the moment. But what are the ordinary humans talking about? Here are some media magpie treasures from the last week… RTÉ Documentary on One rebroadcast the gorgeous 2014 doc, Mairead’s First Communion. It follows two culturally Catholic, but non-religious, parents’ experience of their daughter’s First Communion. They didn’t like the idea of her doing it, but 8 year old Mairead really wanted to, so they let her. There’s so much to … Read more

Arlene’s Valentines Day Massacre

Today could not have turned out any bigger a mess for the incumbent DUP Leader and would-be First Minister. If sources are to be believed the Fermanagh MLA was ready to sign off on a deal which would have seen 3 Bills introduced : An Irish Language Bill An Ulster Scots Bill A Joint Respect Bill What has happened since the weekend to put the Stormont train off the rails? A DUP Group meeting on Monday morning, 3 days of … Read more

Listen to Alan Black’s personal account of the Kingsmill massacre…

Yesterday on RTE Radio 1 Kingsmill massacre survivor Alan Black gave an interview to Miriam O Callaghan. It made for powerful radio and is well worth a listen. Just click the play button below to listen to it or you can download it here.     Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff. My day job is creating websites and software. My personal site is: Freshideas.ie http://freshideas.ie

The Ultimate Eurovision Song Contest Winner…

With Russia discovering the joys of the politics of the Eurovision Song Contest this year, here’s the undoubted highlight from Saturday’s Grand Final in Stockholm – the interval act!  Just in case anyone from the BBC, or from RTÉ, are looking for any tips for next year.  Let’s face it, on recent form they could do with some.  All together now!  Love, Love, Peace, Peace…   Pete Baker


Film reviewer Dan McGinn casts his eye over the second episode of RTE’s Rebellion which after a strong start last week “is beginning to look little more than a period soap opera”.

Sisters In Arms

RTE REBELLION – Brothers on opposite sides of history … but where it really scores is its interest in the women involved in the Rising.

RTE Investigates – Facing up to corruption

STAND UP: Politicians can and must grasp this nettle. For too long they have feared repercussions. No more can that be accepted. We need a range of censures. One might possibly overlook a declaration of something very small on a form and be reprimanded in a small way, but a conflict of interest should carry a severe penalty.

Budget 2016 – Early details from RTE…Who leaked?

On the eve of Budget 2016 RTE political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald has revealed some of what can be expected. This may cause some questions as to who is providing the information and for what reason. It would not be the first time it happened, an early press release caused a resignation from government 20 years ago. Whatever the story behind the early leaking of the Budget to RTE there is no doubt but that it contains quite a few goodies … Read more

O’Brien gets an answer from the High Court on the supremacy of parliamentary privilege…

So it’s all over, eh? I mean the O’Brien thing not the Sepp Blatter thing. [That’s a mess which is only just beginning – Ed] Counsel for Mr O’Brien Michael Cush said he would be making an application to vary the court order to allow the reporting of independent TD Catherine Murphy’s speech last week. He said it was never Mr O’Brien’s intention to stop TDs from speaking. He also said Mr O’Brien intended to take fresh proceedings to ask … Read more

Dan McGinn on #Charlie: Dynasty on the Liffey

Last night the first in a three part mini series on RTE about former Taoiseach Charles Haughey hit the screens. Local film critic, Dan McGinn, reviewed part one for Slugger In 2006 when Charles Haughey passed away, the former Irish Times journalist turned popular broadcaster Henry Kelly went apoplectic in the Daily Telegraph about the former Taoiseach being accorded a state funeral. The former ‘Game for A Laugh’ and ‘Going for Gold’ host wrote: “Charles Haughey exemplified all that was, … Read more

UTV Ireland launches onto Southern screens

Ireland got a new TV channel tonight with the arrival of UTV Ireland. I blogged about its availability in the North last month, if you’re interested. I didn’t watch the opening night, but local film buff, Dan McGinn did and he has some interesting musings on UTV Ireland’s battle with TV3 and RTE over on his blog; UTV Ireland will rely very heavily on ITV output such as ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Emmerdale’, ‘Harry Hill’s Stars In Their Eyes’ and ‘I’m A … Read more

Charlie: Remembering the Haughey era

Two reasons I bring this up now, the first is the annoucement of the Charlie drama which will be hitting RTE on 4th January 2015. and second, today is the 35th anniversary of the election of Charles Haughey as Fianna Fail leader. For any of you not familiar with Irish history, Haughey beat his long time rival George Colley with 44 votes-38. His win a huge shock to the senior figures in the party, all but two of the cabinet … Read more

Eurovision 2014: “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance…”

Well, perhaps…  A bearded Austrian man in a dress, Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen on Saturday night with “Rise Like a Phoenix” – the title quote was his line from the winner’s press conference.  The 25-year-old singer also told reporters in Vienna On the theme of tolerance, Wurst told reporters in the Austrian capital: “This will remain an issue for a long time and I fear I won’t see the end of it in my lifetime. It … Read more

GAA concludes a lucrative deal with Sky Sports…

This is an interesting move from the GAA… Sky Sports has obtained exclusive Island of Ireland rights to 14 Championship games. These consist of eight Saturday evening matches in the All-Ireland qualifiers, two All-Ireland football championship quarter-finals, and two Saturday evening and two Sunday Provincial championship games. Confirmed fixtures which will be broadcast on Sky include Kilkenny v Offaly and Dublin v Wexford in the Leinster SHC; Sligo v Galway/London in the Connacht SFC; and Armagh/Cavan v Down/Tyrone/Monaghan in the … Read more

Memories of 1982, a strange year

According to what’s appeared in the papers, the archives of 1982 have produced few surprises.  Perhaps Wally Kirwan’s suggestion of cross border internment put (safely) to Garret FitzGerald comes close but it was never going to happen.  The two governments had allowed themselves to be pushed apart by the 1981 hunger strike and a key initiative had been handed to the IRA and Sinn Fein for years. I missed  an early chance of enlightenment. After snatching a TV interview with … Read more

Broadcasters’ right to free expression will become more restricted

Here’s a  worrying report by Breda O’Brien in the Irish Times which will  give RTE and public service broadcasters everywhere a headache.  McGuirk, PR consultant and former Libertas communications director (and prolific tweeter himself), recently compiled a list of journalists and producers who tweeted that they were taking part in a pro-choice march, or calling for support for it. He gave up at 37. There were some names associated with RTÉ, and nine from this newspaper (although The Irish Times is … Read more

RTE Frontline controversy rumbles on…

So the Irish broadcast regulator finds itself on the wrong side of potential action on foot of its criticisms of a report on last year’s difficulties on the running of the Frontline programme. Rob Morrison, the report’s joint author – and the person threatening the BAI with legal action – chaired a panel consisting of a range of individuals from outside broadcasters to examine where the RTE Frontline production team departed from regular practice elsewhere. Without reading the draft report … Read more

A well performing adjustment programme?

As Mick has noted, the news coming from the latest in a long line of EU economic crisis summits appears to be good for the Irish government. The rather terse statement issued at 4 am this morning is being pored over by economists as if it were some Joycean text, but it is pretty light on detail. Despite the limited information available, RTE are taking the throaty enthusiasm of An Taoiseach at face value and are fairly happy that the state … Read more

“Having the BBC available in the South gives us a clear link with what politicians in the North are doing.”

So opined the then Irish Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, in February 2010 when the Irish and UK governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) “for continuing co-operation on broadcasting issues on the island of Ireland.” Specifically, on what will happen after the digital switchover in 2012 –  now scheduled for Oct 24 in Ireland as well as in Northern Ireland. Reports at the time that the agreement committed “the two governments to facilitating RTÉ services in Northern Ireland and BBC services … Read more