News and media in Ireland
I tend to avoid newspapers and news programmes because I find so many of them don’t actually cover very much news. Most of what I see about what’s happening in the world starts with Twitter. Then I’ll head for news websites and read more. The last couple of weeks have been interesting to say the least.
Ireland’s been having a bit of a media storm lately about a few things – the Olympic ticket scandal for one, which I haven’t paid much attention to and two things I have taken notice of – Two women Travel and the Rose of Tralee festival.
Two Women Travel was a Twitter account of the journey to England for an abortion. Most of their Tweets were directed to the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and much was made of the fact that he didn’t even tweet good luck to the Mayo team taking part in the All-Ireland semi-final because he was too worried about all the other tweets he’d received. The story was picked up by news agencies all over the world, except here in Ireland, where it was mainly ignored by RTE et al. And of course the Pro-lifers were horrified by the whole thing.
Last weekend we had the Rose of Tralee Festival, which is something of an Irish institution. Girls of Irish descent and girls living in Ireland compete to be crowned the Rose (you can Google it if you’re interested). It was held over several days and during the finals the Sydney rose, Brianna Parkins, who is an Australian journalist, spoke about several women’s issues and also about Ireland holding a referendum on the eighth amendment. There was huge support on Twitter but some people weren’t so impressed, mainly the pro-life brigade. She also wrote a not very nice article about the whole experience. The majority of people in Ireland have fallen in love with her. And this was after the stage was invaded by a Fathers For Justice campaigner, strangely dressed as a priest. I still don’t understand what the idea behind that was. Ireland has a huge problem with how the church has treated women and children in the past. And let’s not forget the Father Ted take on the Rose festival – ‘The Lovely Girls contest’ which is how the Rose of Tralee is often referred to.
Today there was more drama on Twitter about someone calling themselves a sex researcher and educator – The lovely Cheryl over at Horny Geek Girl wrote a post about it, so I won’t go into it here, except to say that I’m horrified by the rubbish this woman is spreading.
As I write this there is another trending hashtag, How we Do Things In Ireland which has been highlighting all sorts of subjects – abortion, homeless children, political cronyism, the banking crisis – the list goes on and it’s not pretty. It seems that the Twitter users of Ireland really have had enough.
One of the most frustrating things for a lot of people has been the lack of coverage about most of this by the national broadcaster, RTE, who are more and more being accused of only covering news stories acceptable to the government. And there is huge anger about the massive salaries presenters are receiving.
The interesting thing will be to see how the government reacts to any of this when the Dail resumes after the summer break. If past experience is anything to go by they’ll probably try to ignore it.