The BAI in Action Today

The Limerick Leader reports the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has rejected an appeal of a James Clark that Dara O’Briain blasphemed on The Late Late Show last November regarding a stump at Rathkeale. Clark suggested that O’Briain’s comment was ‘blasphemous, insulting and showed his clear lack of knowledge.’

O’Briain was promoting BBC‘s Three Men in a Boat when he stated: ‘I kept trying to steer us away from things, like they kept on wanting to go to Rathkeale. Do you know what’s in Rathkeale? The Holy Stump, the bit of a tree. I can say this now. It’s a tree. It could look like anything, a bun in a tree. It looks like isobars. I had to keep steering them away from this.’

RTÉ responded to Clark’s statement that ‘most people in Ireland today would be highly sceptical of claims of apparition and would find nothing wrong in such claims being satirised or treated as suitable subject matter for jokes,’ and added no other complaints of this nature were made.

Furthermore, RTÉ added ‘If upsetting one viewer was sufficient to uphold a complaint, many programmes would regularly find themselves in breach. No one was harmed by this gentle and unmalicious joke.’

Clark suggested in his complaint that O’Briain did not know ‘its (the stump’s) importance to Ireland.’ I’m not sure which is more laughable the complaint, or the suggestion that a stump is of religious importance.

In another matter, Tom Dunne today on Newstalk apologized for comments by Nell McCafferty made on air yesterday (11th March 2010) who made personal derogatory remarks about the Mary Harney, the Minister for Health. On a lighter note, Brenstrong, on Twitter, suggested ‘No one should apologise for nellgate. That way, Mary Harney will understand the frustration of no one being responsible.’

Irish Coverage of Athletics

Congratulations to Olive Loughnane who got a silver medal in the 20KM walk in the Berlin World Championships.

Thankfully, I was able to see some of the coverage on BBC2 and Eurosport, but there was no coverage on RTÉ or TV3. Since the likes of John Treacy, Eamon Coughlan and Marcus O’Sullivan were flying the flag for Ireland in the Olympics and World Athletics Championships, RTÉ had the grace to show the events. But since, there has been a dearth in Irish participation in Athletics meets partially due to the lack of interest from RTÉ and to a lesser extent TV3.

It is a shame that the World Championships weren’t included in the Irish schedules this year or for the past few years. If the Irish are to retain some interest in athletics, it is imperative that they be shown on Irish terrestrial television. Otherwise, Ireland will not have athletes in the future. Irish sport needs to be promoted in order to receive the participation and the plaudits it deserves.

Thankfully, BBC interviewed Olive after her impressive result.