Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ireland in crisis: the stories they're not telling you - by Brian Whelan

Ireland in crisis: the stories they're not telling you

By Brian Whelan

Ireland's economic and political crisis has continued to develop at such a pace that many stories are being entirely missed by the nation's media.

Discontent with RTE has reached a new high after its decision to cut away from a live broadcast on Sunday night when TV3's Vincent Browne began to ask tough questions of the Taoiseach in front of the world's media.

Along with 80 official complaints, RTE's Facebook page has been filled with thousands of comments from angry viewers who say they have been forced to switch to BBC News 24 and Sky News to watch ‘unbiased' reports on the bailout. Some users have gone so far as to liken the state broadcaster to the Soviet Union's official mouthpiece Pravda.

See now: RTE's Facebook page

Former RTE director of television Helen O'Rahilly criticised the station for cutting away during a report on a matter of such ‘historical importance'. They dropped the ball again the following day with no live coverage of the Green Party's press conference announcing general election plans.

An incident later on Sunday night where an 18-year-old Dubliner was knocked down, allegedly by a minister's car, was only considered newsworthy by the Belfast Telegraph. The teen was rushed from the scene to hospital where he was X-rayed for a suspected broken leg.

Read now: Belfast Telegraph

The following day a rowdy protest at Government buildings saw Sinn Féin supporters enter the gates, only to come under attack from baton-wielding motorcycle garda.

What the garda may have failed to notice while striking out and grabbing one protestor by the throat, is that he was manhandling Aengus O'Snodaigh, an elected member of the Dáil who should be free to pass through the gates as he wished."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh can be seen in footage broadcast by the BBC and later spread across YouTube trying to calm the situation and move the protestors back outside the gate for their own safety.

While Green Party TD Paul Gogarty's bizarre decision to bring his child to the Green Party press conference on Monday was the subject of lively debate on Liveline yesterday, many news outlets missed the storm he has been creating on Twitter.

While the nation was falling into economic and political chaos, deputy Gogarty was using his Twitter account to bicker with members of the public, who were calling on him to pull out of government.

The deputy's tweets have provoked much controversy, not least because he has chosen to block scores of critics - including high profile reporters, elected representatives and academics.

David Cochrane, head of the discussion forums, came in for particular scorn, being dubbed ‘master of the online pit of scurrilous vipers'.

See now: Paul Gogarty's Twitter page

Many Internet users are outraged at the ‘failure' of RTE to be critical of the government's bailout plans and have begun to distribute articles from smaller news sites and even foreign newspapers via social networking sites.

Dean Baker, writing in the Guardian, has suggested Ireland learn from the lesson of the IMF's involvement in Argentina and make a break from the euro, stating that if Ireland ‘plays by the bankers' rules, [it] will lose'.

Read now: The Guardian

Meanwhile Matthew Lynn, writing for Bloomberg, believes that Ireland would be better off going bust rather than taking a loan, as the conditions attached ‘aren't worth it'.

Read now: Bloomberg

Veteran reporter Vincent Browne has called the government a ‘junta' led by an ‘IMF minder' and claims ‘Saving banks to pursue a low-paid jobs policy is par for the course given the dysfunctionality of our rulers' ideology'.

Read now: Politico

These critical opposition voices are missing in a country where the debate is reduced to guessing how long the current government will last before the next government steps up to implement the IMF-led cuts in a nicer way.

This Friday's by-election will act as a barometer of the nation's mood, but surely the biggest test will be the ICTU march on Saturday, where the countless armchair critics who demand ‘why is there nobody on the streets' will have their day.

The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union have now officially called for ‘civil disobedience' to bring the government down and hope to build on this weekend's protests. Their general secretary has declared ‘we are on the brink of significant civil unrest in this country'.

Read now: The TEEU site

The only protest being mentioned in the media however is a ‘silent protest' organised by a comedian via Twitter, where people are urged to bring placards telling the government they're fired - though this is surely missing the point that if they were listening to public opinion they would have fled weeks ago.

On the other end of the spectrum the emergence of a new right wing grouping in Ireland has failed to inspire much interest. It brings together economics journalist Marc Coleman, former Libertas PR man John McGuirk and Iona Institute director David Quinn.

The group hopes to end civil war politics and introduce a European left-right political system here and despite their unfortunate name - National Alliance - they are progressive right unlike their extremist ‘white power' American namesakes.

Read now: National Alliance

Are you fed up with how the country is being run or how the bailout is being reported?
We are and thats why we welcome the formation of the United Left Alliance.......

March to GPO against the IMF/EU Sellout and Cuts. Sat 27th Nov.

This march is supported by a wide range of groups. Please come out and show your support!

Assemble 12 noon, on November 27th at Wood Quay, Dublin

The ICTU have called for the march on Sat but it is only on the basis of 'fairer' cuts. But we shouldn't accept this. See the statement from the 1% Network on the analysis of the problem. It would seem the unions were co-opted long ago and serve to allow political pressure to be vented safely by making token gestures of opposition.
Ignore the govt spin that tries to focus on those relying on social welfare or those working in the public service. These are all designed to redirect the focus and anger away from the bankers, developers and speculators and challenge it amongst the masses to prevent any fightback.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini..


Tor Hershman said...

Yep, when ever They begin yammerin' about not havin' any money, moi likes to say 'I bet there's an ol' commie or two around who'd not mind runnin' things.

Whatada They think, apples grow on trees?

If'in we could only get Tojo, Hitler and Stalin ALL goin' strongly...then.....and only THEN would this empire have much employment.

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I'm already mourning the death of this once great country.

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