It really is incredible that RTE has yet to realise the gravity of what happened at the Mahon Tribunal last week. The station seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that a sitting Taoiseach has apparently lied.
Even if we allow that the station is ultra conservative; that it is cautious to the point of panic in case it offends its political masters, it still doesn’t explain why the most important and serious political event in decades is being effectively ignored by the broadcaster.
There has, of course, been plenty of peripheral discussion surrounding the fact that the Taoiseach apparently lied under oath but no mention of perjury, alleged perjury or possible perjury, not even an explanation of what perjury is – Nothing.
Saturday View serves as a good example of how frightened RTE is of facing the reality of the situation (My comments are in brackets).
The RTE presenter, Rodney Rice started off by moaning,
“Once again we cannot avoid examining the Taoiseach’s travails.”
His first couple of questions left listeners in no doubt that RTEs policy of studiously ignoring the reality of the situation was going to continue.
White was asked the totally irrelevant question – Were the Greens forced into making comment on Ahern? This was followed up by an even less relevant question to Varadkar – why haven’t we heard from your leader (Enda Kenny)?
Varadkar – to his credit, wasn’t going to be sidetracked.
“It’s not good enough (for the Taoiseach) to give clarification, the Taoiseach swore an oath in the tribunal that the monies lodged in his building society account were salary cheques and swore on oath that he never dealt in sterling.”
Rice quickly jumped to the Taoiseach’s defence.
“But the one place he can do that again is back in the tribunal and he will do that presumably.
(The obvious question here is; how many times does the Taoiseach have to apparently lie before RTE accepts the reality?)
Varadkar – “What he can do, perhaps for the first time, is come in and tell people the truth… The fact is he swore under oath at the tribunal that the money was salary cheques and he didn’t deal in sterling so he has to come into the Dail now and admit that he perjured himself in the tribunal.”
(No doubt in Varadkar’s mind as to what has occurred).
“If he does not do that then anything he says in the Dail has to be unacceptable and I want to know from the Greens…if what he says in the Dail contradicts what he said under sworn oath in the tribunal will that be acceptable to the Green Party?”
White – “Mahon was set up by all parties and we shouldn’t prejudge it and while revelations coming out are certainly getting up people’s noses around the countryside we will await the outcome of the Mahon Tribunal.”
(Pure Fianna Fail speak).
Varadkar – If it’s still your view that we have to wait until the tribunal makes its report what is the purpose of asking the Taoiseach to make a statement?
White – “Well, I think when Ms. Carruth appeared at the tribunal I think the level was lifted up about public interest in the tribunal…and a little bit of clarification would be no harm at this stage…in any coalition it’s good now and again to clear the air and that was the reason for the intervention.”
(So for the Greens this has nothing to do with a Taoiseach lying, nothing to do with ethics in public office, nothing to do with the truth. It’s all about ‘a bit of clarification’, to placate those pesky citizens who are jumping up and down, demanding accountability).
Varadkar – “It’s becoming increasingly clear that what the Taoiseach has said in the tribunal and what he said in the Dail and what he said to the public hasn’t been true.” “There are things that we can be certain of that are separate from the tribunal. We can be certain that the Taoiseach is a liar.”
Rice – (Intervention). “Well, now that’s un-parliamentary language. You would be asked to withdraw that in the Dail so why don’t you withdraw it here and be polite.”
(Clearly, RTE has adopted the truth avoiding strategy so successfully employed in our National Parliament – You can say what you like but straight talking is forbidden).
Varadkar – “I won’t because it’s the truth.”
Rice – “Why won’t you be polite?”
(About the serious matter of a Taoiseach lying under oath).
Varadkar – “Because it’s the truth.”
Rice – “He (Ahern) has said some things that you regard as contradictory and which may or may not be irreconcilable.”
(The evidence is incontrovertible – Ahern’s words are on record under oath, Carruth’s words are on record under oath and the tribunal has produced signed bank receipts that confirms both of them are liars).
Varadkar – “He said he never dealt in sterling, he said he didn’t have any bank accounts, he said that he consulted the tax authorities on his affairs. None of these things are true. If you want me to rephrase I’ll rephrase in parliamentary language; peddling untruths. He’s been peddling untruths; he’s a fraud, he hasn’t paid his taxes and he’s a thief.”
(Again, no ambiguity here).
Rice – “So you want him to go.”
Varadkar – “Of course, if those things are not red lines, what are red lines?”
Rice asks White – “What do you need?”(From Ahern).
White – “We’re not going to grandstand and jump up and down and wave green flags and we’re not going to prejudge what the Taoiseach of our country is going to say on Wednesday. We will listen.”
(Yes, Mary, and when you’re done listening, Ahern will instruct you and your party to jump and the only question remaining will be – How high Bertie, how high do you want us to jump?)
RTE (Saturday View)