Tuesday 21 January 2020

RTÉ's 1916 tribute like a Eurovision intermission

Colm Wilkinson performs U2's 'One' for RTE's Centenary concert on Easter Monday.
Colm Wilkinson performs U2's 'One' for RTE's Centenary concert on Easter Monday.
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

I've heard it all now...

If you want a longer examination of RTÉ's coverage of the Rising, I suggest you turn to John Boland a bit further down the pages. But I, for one, have remained in a state of bafflement about the rapturous praise that was showered upon in it.

I don't know what it takes for most people to feel proud of being Irish, but I have set my bar slightly higher than Colm Wilkinson singing a U2 cover. I know, I'm a monster.

But that, of course, is a subjective interpretation.

Where I saw a flabby, laughably po faced piece of sub-Eurovision interval act, others saw a new declaration of Irishness. Or something.

But does RTÉ's coverage of the whole commemoration really mean that they deserve the license fee?

That was the gist of several pieces this week, as RTÉ's supporters in the print media decided that such was the brilliance of the national broadcaster that they actually deserve an increase in the license fee.

It would, perhaps, be churlish to point out that the reason people used coverage of the Rising as an excuse to defend this ludicrous tax is because their day-to-day output is so utterly rank. And let's be honest, if you have to rely on a once-in-a-hundred-years event to justify this unjustifiable tax, then you're on a rather sticky wicket.

There is simply no rational reason why people should, in this day and age, be compelled, on pain of jail, to pay for something they don't like, don't want and, increasingly, don't use.

RTÉ already makes full use of all the sponsorship and foreign investment it can - as well as the €150m it made from commercial revenue in 2014.

Let them live or die in the free market like everyone else.

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