Bruce Arnold

Chief Critic of the Irish Independent, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Fianna Fail reform should start with change of leader

Bertie Ahern has saved Micheal Martin further embarrassment and has given Fianna Fail the opportunity to shut up about him. Nothing it was saying was of any value, about him or about Fianna Fail.

Since last Thursday's release of the Mahon Report, divisive harm was done by party members from the leader down. Mr Martin placed major blame on Mr Ahern. But there were no commitments, either to expunge the guilt that hangs like a black cloud over the party, or to support a comprehensive programme of change that must be put in place to eliminate corruption. Nor was there much evidence of party discipline at work. Read More...

Necks on the line after RTE 'Tweetgate' fiasco

Action at the top of RTE cannot wait for a public inquiry, nor a Dail investigation nor a reconsideration of the complaints about the 'Frontline' programme and 'Pat Kenny Live' which followed it the next morning.

In the light of yesterday's revelations in the 'Sunday Independent', the prevarication over what happened requires the resignation or removal of the chairman of the RTE Authority, the director-general Noel Curran and Pat Kenny. Read More...

Twitter saga shows RTE needs to stop pretending it has no agenda

RTÉ director general Noel Curran's apology to Sean Gallagher for the astonishing 'Frontline' Twitter mistake was half-hearted and feeble.

He attempted to wash his hands of the sorry mess: "We have been found against and we have to learn from that" is not good enough. He and RTE learned the perils of Twitter -- which is nothing more than a gossip mechanism at best -- when Miriam O'Callaghan was slapped on the knuckles for prematurely announcing to the world that Gerry Ryan had died. Subsequently RTE promised guidelines, apparently for Twitter-sending only. By definition, particularly in the 'Frontline' fiasco, these guidelines failed to extend to received Twitter messages in strict enough form to suit the problems. Read More...

O Cuiv has given his party the chance to shape a new future

Eamon O Cuiv, silenced, emerges strengthened from the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis. He is the only visible figure in the party to represent both a challenge to Micheal Martin and an opportunity for Fianna Fail to realise some kind of future destiny or direction on the single issue of importance at the moment to Ireland, the country's relationship to Europe.

In a bland, platitudinous speech, the Fianna Fail party leader had this, and this only, to say about Europe: "This has always been a pro-EU party and we are not going to change that now. We have taken the lead in setting out a detailed series of reform measures which Europe needs to get through the crisis. It reflects the policy we have consistently supported and because it is the right thing to do for Ireland, we will be true to our tradition and we will support this new treaty. We were founded as a republican party and republicanism remains our core belief." Read More...