By Anthony Sheridan
Sinn Fein held their Ard Fheis last weekend amid an increasingly tense pre election atmosphere. And because Sinn Fein poses the greatest threat to the corrupt centre of politics, the Government broadcaster RTE, was put on full propaganda alert to badmouth the party.
However, not all of the station’s presenters were paying full attention as the following hilarious incident demonstrates.
Brendan O’Conner, standing in for Marian Finucane, had just launched the standard RTE attack on Sinn Fein when one of the panelist’s, Norah Casey, strayed from the propaganda line and began to speak in high praise of Mary lou McDonald’s inspiring leadership.
O’Connor, probably dreaming about his Sunday dinner, initially didn’t seem to notice that the discussion was drifting away from the Government propaganda line. But the monitoring producer did notice and must have screamed something like the following into O’Connor’s earpiece:
Brendan, for fuck sake, wake up. That woman is praising McDonald and Sinn Fein, put a stop to it.
Confused and flustered, O’Connor struggled to get the propaganda line back on course:
Ok…eh…but now, given that this is..eh extraordinarily…for the first time, turning into a kind of love-in of Sinn Fein.
Can Mary Lou be a feminist icon given the quite recent history of Sinn Fein/IRA and the treatment of women and everything. Are people going to forget that quickly?
Laughing, Casey teased O’Connor over his confusion:
I knew I’d wake you up Brendan
While this was an amusing little incident it is noteworthy that O’Connor, in his confusion, accidentally spoke the truth:
Extraordinarily and for the first time [my emphasis] this is turning into a love-in for Sinn Fein.
And, as listeners know very well by now, it is only by accident that Sinn Fein and other anti-establishment parties will ever get a fair hearing from RTE.