Sunday 19 November 2017

A bizarre, unbelievable week was radio gold-dust

Another week, another circus of the surreal in Irish politics. From the reviewer's perspective, this is all gold-dust. The people behind The West Wing could hardly script such bizarre, dramatic and unbelievable storylines.

Most stations had bucket-loads of current affairs material: some inspired, some tired. But special kudos to Ger Gilroy on Newstalk, who showed an impressive, rare versatility during The Saturday Sports Show.

As news broke of the Greens' abdication, Gilroy moved smoothly from what he was there to do -- cover the sporting action -- and onto this new political playing field. And, as you'd expect from a guy who's broadcasted in both arenas, he handled it with ease.

Not many have that versatility, and certainly not sportscasters, who often give the impression they have no other interests in life. It was a cool, authoritative performance, which again makes one wonder: why was he dropped from the Breakfast Show?

Not that there's anything wrong with current hosts, Ivan Yates and Chris O'Donoghue; but Gilroy and Claire Byrne were an excellent double-act, blending a nicely relaxed rapport with good command of the brief.

Anyway: Breakfast had an interesting slot with historian Diarmuid Ferriter on the future of Fianna Fáil. Facing the electoral abyss, he said this was unchartered territory, and asked: will they even remain in existence as a party, or just a small rump?

Ferriter added, intriguingly, that in many ways the worst thing for Fianna Fáil was being re-elected in 2007.

Instead of sliding out of responsibility for this mess they created, they've borne the brunt of our anger.

Some people -- let's face it, most people -- would call that natural justice.

Another good, meaty interview on The Last Word (Today FM), in which Green leader John Gormley attempted to justify their time in power. Though clearly a sincere and well-intentioned man, I couldn't help remembering that old maxim, about how you can only lose your virginity once.

Finally, a lovely turn of phrase from a man whose opinions I almost always disagree with: Eoghan Harris.

Decrying Mícheál Martin's leadership ambitions, he described the Corkman's "hang-dog expression . . . he seems to have internalised the recession into himself". It was a brutal sort of poetry.

dmcmanus@independent.ie

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