RTE: A government propaganda puppet

This Week is one of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes. On its website the programme is described as:

A look at events making the news in the past week with Colm O’Mongain and Richard Crowley.

The words to note here are ‘current’ and ‘events making the news in the past week’.

One of the major stories that dominated the news last week was the very serious allegations made against NAMA by Mick Wallace TD. Not only has this story potentially very serious consequence for Irish citizens but it also involves the Government, law enforcement agencies and politicians from our nearest neighbour in the UK and a possible investigation by the corrupt practices investigations unit attached to the US Department of Justice.

In a functional democracy there is absolutely no way a national broadcaster would ignore this very serious event in one of its flagship news and current affairs programmes, it simply would not happen.

It is very reasonable for Irish citizens to conclude that RTE/This Week made a conscious decision not to cover this politically explosive scandal as a result of political and/or business pressure.

The producers of News and current affairs programmes can reasonably argue that they have to prioritise what they will cover according to the importance and immediacy of events, hence the blurb on This Week’s website, ‘A look at events making the news in the past week.’

The producers of yesterday’s programme obviously did not think the very serious allegations against NAMA, which are linked to the political, law enforcement, business and administrative sectors of our nearest neighbour, were important enough to cover on the show.

Again, the producers of This Week can reasonably argue that other stories were indeed more important and therefore it was reasonable to give them priority.

So let’s have a look at the stories that the producers thought were more important than the NAMA scandal.

First item: The Greek crisis. This is an immediate, important and ongoing story that requires deep analysis and reporting. It did not, however, warrant a full 45 minutes (out of less than 60 minutes) of reporting and analysis.

Second item: Reaction to reports on the future of IAGs Aer Lingus London slots.

This is not a major story and most certainly is not more important than the NAMA scandal. No independent producer would give priority to this story over the NAMA allegations.

Third item: The ongoing imprisonment of Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt. This is not a major story. Again, there is no possibility that a truly independent producer would give priority to this story and ignore a major national/international financial scandal that had just come to light.

There can be only three reasons for the omission of the NAMA story from the This Week programme.

One: Gross incompetence in that the producers are incapable of distinguishing between a major breaking news story and a relatively minor old story.

Two: The producers hold strong personal political/ideological views and make their decisions on that basis.

Three: The producers are under direct or indirect political/business pressure to ignore or at least minimise coverage of certain categories of news stories.

Personally, I believe the third reason is the truth but in the end it doesn’t matter in terms of RTEs credibility as an independent broadcaster.

The brutal reality is that RTE, for whatever reason, is rapidly evolving from being a professional, independent broadcaster into a propaganda puppet of the State and other interested parties.

Marian Finucane: Was it a good week for you Mick?

Marian Finucane and Mick Wallace discussed the ongoing scandals in the Gardai for about twenty minutes yesterday (Saturday).

Not once during the discussion was the word ‘corruption’ mentioned, political or otherwise. This is despite the fact that it is political corruption that lies at the heart of practically every scandal over the last five decades.

Not once was Wallace asked how he could reconcile describing (rightly) Dail Eireann as a sham and a joke for so long as Shatter remained in his position while Wallace himself occupies the exact same position of democratic unacceptability.

Instead the extremely conservative Marian Finucane reflecting the extremely conservative and careful RTE asked such penetrating questions as:

What was it that got your gander up so strongly?


Was it a good week for you?

DPP not to act against Mick Wallace

On October 8 2012 I submitted a formal complaint against Mick Wallace TD to Cobh Gardai.

The complaint was in response to Wallace’s admission on live radio that he hired a hitman to recover an outstanding debt from a building contracts manager.

I heard nothing more on the matter from Cobh Gardai until I contacted them nearly a year later on 10 September last.

I was informed that my complaint had been passed on to Wexford Gardai two days after submission, presumably because Wallace is based in Wexford.

I received no communications from Wexford Gardai until I phoned the station on October 8 last, exactly one year after I had submitted my complaint.

The investigating officer informed me that my complaint had been submitted to the DPP who directed, in January 2013, that no prosecution should be taken.

I was not informed of this decision.

I requested more details from the investigating officer.

Did you carry out an investigation or did you just submit my complaint to the DPP?

I submitted an investigation.

Did you contact Mick Wallace?

I’m not going to say what I did or didn’t do but I investigated the complaint.

Is there any information at all you can give me regarding your investigation?

No, I’m not going to give you any information.

I find that a bit strange. Is the investigation you carried out totally confidential?

I’m not going to tell you the ins and outs of it. All I will say to you, and you can take whatever you want out of this, is that I carried out the relevant inquiries and submitted a file to the DPP.

The following is my assessment of this case.

It is obvious that neither the Gardai nor the DPP thought it necessary to inform me of what was happening. If I had not made enquiries I would never have known what action had been taken as a result of my complaint.

In common with the many complaints I have submitted over the years against politicians, civil servants and others I did not for a moment expect that charges would actually be brought against Mick Wallace.

My principal motive for submitting such complaints is to highlight the fact that Ireland is a deeply dysfunctional state where certain categories of citizens seem to be virtually untouchable when it comes to law enforcement.

At some point in the distant future when Ireland is a fully accountable democracy the following will be the norm.

Police investigators will be legally required to keep complainants informed of the progress of any investigation.

The DPP will be legally required, without revealing substantial facts, to regularly publish lists of complaints/cases that have been submitted stating whether they are to be prosecuted or rejected.

Update on Mick Wallace complaint

I contacted Cobh Gardai yesterday to make inquiries in respect of my complaint against Mick Wallace that I submitted nearly one year ago on 8 October 2012.

On 10th October 2012 my complaint was passed on to Wexford Gardai for further investigation, presumably because Wallace is based in Wexford.

The Garda I spoke with expressed surprise that I had not been contacted about the matter since and promised to ring Wexford Gardai today for an update.

Formal complaint against Mick Wallace TD

I have an appointment with Cobh Gardai for 3pm today in which I will lodge the following formal complaint against Michael Wallace TD in response to his admission that he hired a hitman to recover an outstanding debt from a building contractor.

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against Michael Wallace TD in response to his admission that he hired a hitman to recover an outstanding debt from a building contractor.

During a conversation with Marian Finucane on RTE on Saturday 6th October 2012 Mr. Wallace outlined the background regarding his decision to hire a hitman and the subsequent successful outcome of his actions.

The conversation between Mr. Wallace and Marian Finucane is available on the RTE website.

I have included an account of the conversation with some minor editing for ease of reading.

Yours sincerely
Anthony Sheridan

I was working for a large builder supplying labour only and he owed me €170,000 and gave me €150,000. When I said I need the last twenty they said you can go to hell, that’s all you’re getting.

When I said that’s not fair, they said; we don’t give a fuck.

I said that’s not the way I do business.

They said, well, that’s it.

After trying to get the money back through the legal process for six months my solicitor told me, you’re owed €20,000, you’ll be lucky to get €13,000 out of €20,000 and you’ll have your legal costs and take at least two years, so whatever you think.

Ok, let me think about it.

I just happened to meet a guy in a pub the next night and he told me about what he did, how he made his living. He was a debt collector.

There’s a contractor who owes me money. I’ve never met the owner but I’m dealing with a contracts manager and all my dealings have been with him.

And I said, if I said to you go get my money how would you do it?

I just need his name and the company he works for and I’d find out the rest. I’d go out to his house at 8 or 9 at night when he’s at home. I’d knock on the door, put my foot in the door and I’d have a gun with me and I’d give him seven days to pay and generally they pay.

Well, I’m owed €20,000, what would it cost me?

Four, you get sixteen, I get four.

Right, ok. Let me think about it.

So I arranged to meet a guy that used to work for me but now worked for this particular contracts manager. I said to him, by the way, I’m going to get that money from the contractor.

Are you serious?

I am, yeah.

That’s great, how did you do it?

I haven’t got it yet but I’m going to get it. This guy has guaranteed me I’m going to get it.

How did you do it?

Well, I hired a hit man and I explained to him how he’s going to get the money.

I don’t believe you Wallace; I don’t believe you, that’s incredible.

What can I do, I need the money, they owe it to me, he will pay so there won’t be any trouble.

Two days later, I got a phone call from the owner of the company who I had never spoken to in my life and he asked to meet me.

I believe there’s an outstanding sum of money.

There is, you owe me €20,000.

I went to his office and agreed to accept €16,000.

But to be honest, I wouldn’t have sent a gunman to his door, no.