Monday 19 March 2018

Rise of the far right scare-talk: EU is in danger

Sean Moncrieff
Sean Moncrieff

Eilis O'Hanlon

'Coming up after the break – the fight against litter in Tramore." Newstalk's Moncrieff certainly knew how to keep listeners enthralled during last Thursday's post-2pm moratorium on election coverage.

Before the cut-off, Sean had been chatting with political commentator Johnny Fallon about what former justice minister Alan Shatter might or might not be about to announce to the gathered media. Was a by-election on the cards? Fallon thought it just as likely that Shatter would announce that he was giving his €70k severance pay to charity, and then head back into Leinster House, relishing the disappointment of reporters who'd been anticipating a bigger story. As it happened, that's exactly what Shatter did. One-nil to Fallon on the punditry front.

To be honest, radio listeners didn't miss much during the moratorium because the debate all week, insofar as it touched on the EU election at least, had been extremely lacklustre anyway, concentrating mostly on local issues rather than Europe. RTE's Europe correspondent Tony Connelly did file a few pieces for Morning Ireland on various European issues. On Tuesday, there was an interesting, if tad dry, report on how Brussels has become the world's second largest capital for paid lobbyists representing business, NGOs and charities. On Wednesday, a less thrilling piece on the "rise of far-right eurosceptic parties" – at least that's what Rachel English said it would be the day before. In the event, the rise of the 'hard left' was also added to the mix. If barely.

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