RTE was under fire today for stereotyping country folk and Fine Gael supporters.
Critics say the station revealed its Dublin 4 emphasis when reporter Marie-Louise O'Donnell used Punch-like language to describe Enda Kenny's homecoming as Taoiseach.
The DCU lecturer-turned-media-darling described the Mayo crowd smelling like "turf and porridge and tweed and prayer". But her rambling on the Pat Kenny radio show didn't end there. She added: "They have great, wonderful wide faces and sparkly eyes and thick wiry hair."
Several listeners contacted RTE to complain about the odd report, but a network spokesperson defended it.
"She was using poetic licence, she wasn't insulting anybody as such. Her father's family are from Mayo."
But fans took to the internet to complain about the news report, and one listener said: "Her sensationalist description of countryside life was akin to a member of the Star Ship Enterprise going back in time and describing the life of a caveman... I reckon she thinks most people outside the Pale still eat with their hands."
Marie-Louise is no stranger to broadcasting controversy, and became a regular fixture when she began her work with the Pat Kenny Show. Although she may be in 'love her or hate her' territory with RTE listeners, her DCU like her.
Journalist and Mayo native Claire Grady in an article today (see page 15) said the broadcast had the semblance of a UK Radio Oireland report from generations ago.