A COMPLAINT OVER a skit concerning the genitals of one of the 1916 leaders has been rejected by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
The BAI rejected a complaint against a skit on RTÉ’s Callan’s Kicks show, written and starring Oliver Callan.
The programme airs at 6.30pm every Friday evening.
The episode – which aired on RTÉ Radio One on 6 February – contained a skit in which 1916 leader and signatory to the proclamation Thomas Clarke’s genitals were mentioned.
In the sketch, the Fianna Fáil party is meeting to discuss its approach to the general election.
A parody of TD Éamon Ó Cúiv shows how he is writing a letter of complaint over the TV show Rebellion, stating that it is full of factual inaccuracies.
To this, one of the other characters replies:
Why? Was Thomas Clarke’s langer not that big in real life?
The characters go on to discuss the show and its characterisation of Thomas Clarke’s genitals.
The complainant – Liam O’Mahony – said that the references were “extremely crude and juvenile”.
According to the complaint summary:
The complainant states that Mr Clarke gave his life for Ireland and should not have been the subject of such disparaging remarks.
In its response, RTÉ said that the programme was charged with poking fun at public figures.
It said that the joke was not poking fun at Thomas Clarke, but was satirising the public figures and politicians of today. The humour in the piece was in its characterisation of the Fianna Fáil party.
The BAI rejected the complaint on the grounds that the humour in the piece was in keeping with the theme of the programme in general.
“While such humour may not appeal to all tastes, the forum must respect the right to freedom of expression,” the BAI said in its summary.
The forum was of the view that this particular sketch was based on the comedian’s perceptions and it was evident his comments were not meant to be taken seriously or literally.
There were two other complaints made in relation to programming around the 1916 Easter Rising.
One actually had to do with the show Rebellion. It revolved around the drama’s depiction of De Valera’s reaction on discovering he was granted a reprieve from execution in the final episode.
The complainant said events in the programme were historically inaccurate and the way in which De Valera responded (by vomiting) to the commuting of his death sentence denigrated his memory.
This complaint was also rejected by the BAI.
It found that the programme was a fictional, dramatic account of the 1916 Rising and audiences would have known that.
As it was a fictional account, the BAI found that “there was some dramatic licence used to tell the story in a particular manner”.
“As a piece of dramatic television, the programme makers are entitled to take a creative
approach to telling a story with a view to entertaining and engaging audiences,” the BAI said in its judgement.
In a third case, a complaint was made in relation to the RTÉ coverage of the Easter Sunday state commemoration ceremony for the centenary of the Rising.
The programme was the Marian Finucane Show, broadcast on 27 March.
The complainant took issue with one contributor who likened certain lines in the Proclamation to actions being carried out by jihadists such as the Islamic State in other countries.
The complainant said that the broadcaster noted that she was “thinking the same thing” in relation to the Proclamation.
The complainant said that by making the comparison, the broadcaster was in effect saying that the Irish State has a similar ethos of jihadism.
The BAI unanimously rejected the complaint. It said that the comments were merely an observation on the religious language in the Proclamation “and how groups and organisations use such language and use God to support their military or revolutionary actions”.