| 14.1°C Dublin

Why RTE had to apologise to Taoiseach

Fair play to the artistic prankster who took it upon himself to immortalise Taoiseach Brian Cowen in the Royal Hibernian Academy. The country could do with a laugh at the moment.

No more than myself, Mr Cowen is no muscular Adonis, but I'm sure, like me, he would be flattered to have his portrait in the RHA. Even if this particular emperor was seen to have no clothes.

But what wasn't funny was the way RTE covered this story. A jokey picture of our Taoiseach on the commode may make a nice light-hearted piece in the newspapers, but in the current climate is it necessary to feature this on our main evening news?

One would imagine that Cathal Goan and his gurus in Montrose would have better uses for taxpayers' cash than carrying out a vox pop on what was basically a prank.

Is it any coincidence that since the State broadcaster ran the story that it has appeared so extensively in the international press?

Not only did it take up time that could have been used for serious news, but it served to legitimise an act that denigrated the office of our Taoiseach.

Why did they have to say it was unclear with the Taoiseach had posed for the portrait?

To me, it was RTE having a go at Mr Cowen, trying to embarrass him and undermining the office of Taoiseach.

While we all may have a go at the station -- we have every right to, we pay the blooming licence fee -- we do expect certain standards of it.

The Cowen piece, from the tone of the apology last night, quite obviously hurt his family.

What's seen as snidely funny in the RTE newsroom does not always raise chuckles in people's living rooms.

The station was right to apologise. The piece ridiculed the Taoiseach.