Saturday 23 September 2017

Eilis O'Hanlon: A telling silence as RTE ignores the Lowry story

Show by show, the national broadcaster has ducked its responsibility on an issue that warrants discussion.

Eilis O'Hanlon

The silence from RTE is deafening. Ever since the Sunday Independent revealed details of the telephone call in which Michael Lowry begs a Northern Ireland businessman not to tell the Moriarty tribunal about a large sum of money which the former minister for transport, energy and communications had given to him, the national broadcaster has basically done a hands-over-ears, "la la la, can't hear you" act.

There was one brief discussion on Marian Finucane's newspaper round up on the morning of publication, then a vow of silence descended on Donnybrook so effective that even the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank wouldn't have been able to pick up any signals.

Last week the inevitable happened, like a car crash in slow motion. TV3 ran with the story, playing the Lowry tape in full on Tonight With Vincent Browne followed by a discussion with three writers who have devoted most time to uncovering the mess of corruption at the heart of the Tipperary North TD's political career. With one knockout blow, Browne's Tonight show confirmed itself as the foremost current affairs forum on Irish television, and consigned RTE to the halfpenny place. Again.

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