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George Byrne: Oh no ... not you again

After the unintentionally hilarious Charlie Bird documentary and the fallout from the George Lee business, you'd imagine that a bit of the quiet life would be the order of the day for RTE.

And what better way to provide that than by announcing the contenders to represent the country in this year's Eurovision.

Ah, but this has proved to be something of a minefield in the past, one which lads in Montrose have done a Flatley through before with the Dustin the Turkey affair, and I fully expect a slew of irate callers to Liveline this afternoon.

Not that there's any doubting the credentials of contributing songwriters such as Boyzone member Mikey Graham or former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh but there he is again, looming out of the mist - John Waters.

Yes indeed, the man whose impenetrable, self-important ramblings grace both the Irish Times and the Sunday edition of an English-owned tabloid has once again come to bestow the bounty of his words upon the nation.

This time out he's written the lyrics for 'Does Heaven Need Much More?' - with the music composed by Tommy Moran - to be performed by Leanne Moore and one can but marvel at the gumption of the man to put himself through the Eurovision wringer yet again.

Lest we forget, there was the priceless Liveline whinge in 2006 when Waters ranted (as per usual) that his song 'Words That Never Wear Out' hadn't been in with a shout of selection due to red tape about entry dates and his complete lack of self-awareness had the nation in knots as Joe Duffy read out the lyrics while their author wailed away about cliques and cabals in the background.

The following year Waters went one better and actually managed to get a song through.

There was of course no suggestion whatsoever that 'They Can't Stop The Spring' made it through simply because RTE were trying to avoid Waters ringing up programmes and shouting at presenters (a fate marginally worse than having nasty things written about them in the Irish Times in the RTE mindset) but his song was actually pronounced the winner. Alas, as performed by Dervish the song -- an awful

hymn to pan-European unity which contained the lines 'The curtain has been raised/And Europe's all one stage/And the archipelagic icicles/Have melted like the cage' -- finished last, our only points coming from Albania and there was even suspicion that that that came about due to a malfunction at the Tirana telephone exchange.

Songwriters up and down the country will probably be up in arms at the idea of the likes of Waters possibly securing a free pass to the Eurosong inner circle -- ironically, the very thing which drove him apoplectic in his 2006 strop -- but at least his co-writer Tommy Moran has form. After all, it was Moran who co-wrote 'They Can't Stop The Spring.

Best of luck.


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