Friday 9 December 2016

Brought to book

Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00

Sir -- In his review of Window and Mirror: RTE Television, 1961-2011, Colum Kenny queries my claim that RTE television "cumulatively brought the scale of [sexual] abuse to such public attention that it could no longer be ignored by the political establishment" (Sunday Independent, Nov 13, 2011). He then faults me for overlooking an article he believes might contradict this: but I find that the evidence adduced in the article broadly supports my conclusion that it was Louis Lentin's Dear Daughter and Mary Raftery's series of programmes which obliged the Government to act. And the author of that article is Kenny himself.

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I find it odd that he prefers his own verdict on the Hardiman-Haughey confrontation to that of one of the witnesses; likewise he wasn't there when Jack Lynch said that his response would be "f*** them" to any critics who would have faulted his Government for denying freedom of speech to the IRA. Considered in the context in which it was uttered, Lynch's reply is not a surprise to me -- nor was it to his biographer, Dermot Keogh. Kenny then tells us what he is "inclined to believe" about Sean Lemass's approach to television and prefers this view to what "Bowman seems to think." But he offers no evidence for this opinion, whereas all my verdicts on Lemass and his attitude to television are fully referenced.

I think his review is essentially a complaint that I did not write the book that he would have written were he undertaking it. I suggest that your readers judge all of these issues for themselves by reading the book which I have written.

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