Why I’m sick of RTE’s ‘we’re broke’ mantra


Well readers, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that RTE, in a bid to save €60 million over three years, has announced a major cost-cutting plan which will include 200 job losses and a fifteen per cent pay cut for its highest earning ‘stars’.

  We’re well aware of the State broadcaster’s financial difficulties; indeed hasn’t Director General Dee Forbes, (or as I call her, the thorn-in-licence-payers’ sides) been going on and on about the cash-strapped organisation’s money struggles for years now. However, instead of doing something constructive, like say, her job, and taking responsibility for the mess, and making radical reforms, Ms. Forbes continues to insist on a licence fee price-hike in order to cover RTE’s sorry ass, and its losses – something which I find inexcusable.

  As a licence payer, (not because I want to be, but because I have to be), I’m sick of the time-wasting, formulaic tripe RTE serves up under the guise of ‘entertainment’ – and to that end, I’m finding it very difficult to illicit any sympathy for Dee and her plight. Indeed, the only emotion I’m feeling this week is apathy, especially as Ms. Forbes reportedly personally receives a wage of €250,000, a €25,000 car allowance and pension contributions of €63,000, (bringing her total package in at €338,000), yet continues to put on the poor mouth. On top of this, RTE bigwigs seem to consistently make short-sighted and contradictory bad business decisions. Like on the one hand, Dee’s licence fee/State support demands tell me she’s probably living in the past, viewing RTE as it was in DeValera’s age when the national broadcaster had a duty to endorse our pure ‘Oirishness’ and push the moral codes of the Catholic Church! On the other hand, RTE’s hierarchy, (strangely appearing to actually embrace the 21st century), whined about the country’s changing landscape where younger audiences are moving their viewing preferences towards online sources…yet then makes the paradoxical decision to cut back on their digital services! What’s that about?

  With all of this in mind, let me offer Ms. Forbes an insight into the real world of media…and say that all organisations are struggling. It’s not just RTE! Indeed, this very newspaper, as it’s a complimentary publication, (not funded by the licence fee, or State support), has to, week in, week out, fend for itself. That means it depends solely upon advertising revenue in order to survive and bring our readers continuous first class content, rendering Dee Forbes and her pathetic ‘we’re broke’ stance to really grate on every nerve in my being!

  Now, let me say that I do have enormous sympathy and feel deep empathy with RTE’s researchers, producers, script writers, cleaning and catering staff, etc., who’ll bear the brunt of Ms. Forbes’ 200 job cuts, and my heart goes out to them. But with regard to the so-called ‘talent’, let me say that, in my opinion folks, you’re not worth it! Nope, you’re not all that! It’s time you realised you’re presenters – not demigods – and no other broadcaster would even think of offering you such ridiculous amounts of money! In fact, I imagine that even with the proposed fifteen per cent cuts to your salaries, you’ll likely still enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle, so forgive me if I don’t set up a go-fund-me page for you any time soon!

  And, while I’m still enjoying the view from my high horse, can I ask why there are twelve staff members working on the RTE Guide? What are they all doing? It doesn’t take that many people to run and produce a magazine. Okay, I’ll admit the Guide kinda fills a niche for something to read in the run-up to Christmas while out having a gingerbread latte…you know, when you’re not interested in focusing fully! Indeed, it probably fulfils the entertainment equivalent of downing a cheap bottle of plonk when what you really want is a magnum of Moet. In fact, the RTE Guide is a magazine I’ll buy, not because of its exceptional literary value, but because I’m feeling nostalgic and want to get rid of the coins jangling in my pocket! Here’s a thought…why doesn’t Dee drop a has-been presenter and use his/her salary to employ the Guide staff elsewhere!


Why is there a troubling trend of cocaine abuse in Ireland?


Apparently – according to a Health Research Board (HRB) report – there’s a steep rise in cocaine use in this country, with record numbers of people seeking treatment. Now, I don’t know about you folks, but as a mother, I find this to be very disquieting, especially as it’s reported that one in six of those (in Ireland) receiving treatment for drug addiction are dependent on cocaine.

  Without sounding glib, can I ask…where are they getting the money for this coke? I’m working full-time and struggle to fund my weekly bottle of wine, never mind support a drug habit, so I’m genuinely gobsmacked when I hear things like having a line of coke with a pint is deemed to be as normal as having a bag of Tayto or a cigarette. In fact, I find this to be particularly scary, especially as I’ve never even tried a cigarette and I think twice about popping two paracetamol for a headache and instead try to get rid of it with a strong coffee! But, ahem, each to their own.

  Perhaps this addiction all began during the boom, perhaps it didn’t. However, I do know that cocaine, (in its powdered form), is linked to the Celtic Tiger, with crack cocaine abuse and dependency being more linked to organised crime and those who are, for want of a better explanation, feeling disempowered. Indeed, this type of drug is decimating families and communities alike, causing pain on so many levels; and the reality is, that its use is commonplace, it’s rife and it’s readily available, with some people even ‘doing coke’ in order to see them through a simple workday. Indeed, as drug addiction services are more geared towards heroin abuse, and there are opiate substitute treatments linked to it, (like methadone), it appears, despite the fact cocaine dependency is on the rise, that our treatment facilities and services have not been able to keep up. Therefore, if you’re unfortunate enough to be consuming cocaine, I presume your best option for help is to go down the very expensive psychotherapy (or talk therapy route). But hey…I hate to sound heartless here, but if you’ve got the cash to spend on coke, you’ve got the cash to spend on a good shrink! Am I right?