The mills of God grind fine and slow but they get there in the end, as a character in one of Brian Friel’s plays put it. RTÉ’s news department is to have a major shake-up, in the light of its false accusations in a programme about Fr Kevin Reynolds. The managing director of RTÉ at the time, Ed Mulhall, is retiring, which is sad, because he obviously was a fine managing director, but he’ll have the consolation perhaps of a lump sum of €325,000 and a pension of €69,000. They’re also going to scrap the series ‘Primetime Investigates’, which lied about Fr Reynolds; and Ken O’Shea, the editor of current affairs, is being moved to another post in television. (Now why does that last one have a slightly familiar ring. It’ll come to me, I know it will…). The station is also worried about their performance in the course of the presidential campaign and the fall-out therefrom. No, not about asking Martin McGuinness if he went to confession but about having announced a tweet as coming from Sinn Féin when it didn’t.
Meanwhile, the show must go on, and yesterday Olivia O’Leary put her shapely shoulder to the wheel. She did one of her by-now famous ‘columns’ on RTÉ Radio’s ‘Drivetime’ about the Falklands. Olivia is a mistress of the English language – she was in Buenos Aires during the arrival of Maggie Thatcher’s warships and she painted a vivid picture of the sounds and smells and hopes and fears of the Argentine people at the time. Apparently they kept trying to convince themselves that they’d defeat the British, even though Olivia told them that the Brits were determined and that they had experience of conflict in far-flung places like Northern Ireland. Alas, they didn’t listen to her and the rest is history. What struck me, though, was the way Olivia managed to take as read the fact that Britain was entitled to continued sovereignty over the Malvinas. Odd, that. Question simply didn’t arise - the right of the British to jurisdiction over a small group of islands thousands of miles away - was simply ignored in Olivia’s RTÉ column. Olivia’s fine nostrils don’t get the whiff of colonialism, it seems. But then, RTÉ was and is pretty good at ignoring the things it finds conflict with its pre-determined picture of people and events. Ask Fr Reynolds. Or Martin McGuinness.