26 March, 2009

Release the Pearse Street Two - #Picturegate and all that

Thanks Gary for the screenshot from the Simpsons' view of Irish planning as they flew into Ireland for St. Patrick's Day.

This Picturegate business has gone beyond a joke. I've heard on the grapevine that the Guards have pictures of Trevor Sargent and John Gormley in custody in Pearse Street Garda Station, and I think that its high time they were returned to the Artist. It's time to release the Pearse Street Two.

Look, it's beginning to turn into Scrap Saturday on steroids. Sure, we can argue the pros and cons of whether RTE should have run with the prank in the first place, and indeed how they handled the story in the first instance. Personally I don't think it should have involved a full apology the following evening, but this whole sending in the Guards business brings it into the realm of high farce.

Public life is never that easy, but there is always a danger if you take yourself too seriously. It's not exactly a re-run of the Geraldine Kennedy / Bruce Arnold phone tapping episode, but it certainly doesn't look well for guards to be heading off into a radio studio looking for the artist's email addresses. It's probably all a bit too much publicity for the artist Conor Casby, who I'd imagine was only trying to raise the Nation's spirits in the midst of difficult times.

It's worth remembering that political satire has a long history, all the way back to the Greek playwright Aristophanes, and before.

I can only imagine that the Gardaí investigating whether the display of the paintings involved offences such as indecency, incitement to hatred or criminal damage have much better things to be doing with their time, and that's what I feel they should be doing. I feel we're slipping into dangerous territory when a member of the Oireachtas is calling for the Director General of RTE Cathal Goan to consider his position. I just wish RTE had an editor's blog similar to the BBC where we could forensically examine the decision-making process around the screening of the news piece and subsequent apology earlier in the week.

Meanwhile I've just heard that mobile and munchies are to be banned from Dáil Committees. Nothing like a bit of light relief in these troubled times.


Anonymous said...

Quite right Ciarán!

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard you ministers tell the Guards to cop themselves on. Even if they only did it, to pretend to people that they hadn't become members of Cairdre Fianna Fail.Time for Ryan and Gormley to grow a pair.

Danny Sheahan