The Week on Twitter: Siteserv, Puppet Power, Father Ted and Dáil on the Dole

This week Twitter users weren’t too impressed with TV3’s news show Dáil on the Dole. The 20th anniversary of Father Ted saw the show being celebrated in wonderful ways, some of which were on Twitter. Everyone is tweeting and asking about the Siteserv scandal, involving the Government, IBRC and Denis O’Brien (all of which is explained below). Tweeters mixed up Joan Collins and Joan Collins, while Bosco and Dustin demonstrates their puppet power in the run up to the referendum.


Viewers Weren’t Doled Over #DailOnTheDole

On Monday a new television programme made its debut on TV3; Dáil on the Dole followed Fine Gael TD for Dublin South Central, Catherine Byrne, as she spent time with a constituent who is living off social welfare. Despite the misleading title, Deputy Catherine Byrne did not actually live off a dole-sized amount of money for a week; she simply followed around a single mother of two children, Laura Spencer, who is in receipt of social welfare payments.

Many of the tweets, which led to the show trending on Twitter, were regarding the deceiving name of the show. Many Tweeters pointed out that it would have been better if the TDs involved actually had to live on the dole for a month.

Dáil on the Dole was less sensationalist than most of the topical shows that TV3 have produced. The programme showed Catherine Byrne follow Laura as she did her shopping in Lidl, Laura showed her the mould growing on the ceiling of her council accommodation and Laura explained all the problems that she faces.

Catherine Byrne expressed her sympathy for Laura’s situation throughout the show promising things will get better when the economy is growing once again. She also called Dublin City Council on her behalf too. The people who were not won over by this impressive piece of PR seemed to be the ones to tweet about the show.

The second episode of Dáil on the Dole will air this Monday and will follow Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea as he joins a social welfare recipient in Limerick city. Labour Party TD for Dublin Joanna Tuffy and Independent TD for Waterford John Halligan will also appear on the show.


Ted Talk #FatherTed

On Tuesday Father Ted trended on Twitter as fans celebrated the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the show, often in weird and wonderful ways. One hardcore fan even put up a ‘Careful Now’ sign on the N11 for that morning.

Aer Lingus took the opportunity to use the anniversary for a bit of cleaver social media marketing, but was thwarted by a response from Ryanair which led to a Twitter-off between the two airline companies.

Even Netflix, which has recently made Father Ted available in the US, joined in.

Father Ted co-writer Graham Linehan expressed his thanks for all the kind words and celebrations through his Twitter account at the end of the day.


In Deep Water #JoanCollins

On Monday morning TD Joan Collins, a United Left representative for Dublin South Central, was arrested during a peaceful protest against the installation of water meters in Crumlin. She, along with a number of other protesters and Councillor Pat Dunne, was arrested on Parnell Road and brought to Sundrive Road Garda Station. Later on Monday evening an impromptu protest also took place outside of the Garda station.

This represents a change in the policing of protests against water meters, which up until now were allowed by Gardaí once they were peaceful.

The incident had many people tweeting, but it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that Joan Collins was trending. Those who are less familiar with Irish politics and Dublin politicians got a bit confused about what all the hullabaloo was about and thought that Joan Collins, the famous British actress, had been arrested. There were enough mixed up tweets to warrant a response from the English Dame.

TD Joan Collins responded to this prim tweet, which led to her name- their name- trending as the media picked up the story.


A Government Oversite #SiteServ #SiteServScandal #DenisO’Brien

On Wednesday Independent TD Catherine Murphy received documents through the Freedom of Information Act, which showed that the Department of Finance, as well as the Finance Minister Michael Noonan, were concerned about the deal to sell a company called Siteserv. Siteserv is a company that provides various industrial services and was sold by state-owned IBRC (formerly Anglo-Irish Bank) to one of Denis O’Brien’s companies in 2012. The company was profitable, but had considerable debts which were written off before the sale leading to a loss of tax payer’s money.

The reason this news has had such a big reaction and caused such political controversy is because there were always questions surrounding why Sitserv was sold to Denis O’Brien’s company instead of the highest bidder, which was a French company. TD Catherine Murphy also says that the information in these documents is different to information that she received from the Finance Minister during parliamentary questions.

Since the story broke on Wednesday, the issue has been the subject of almost every parliamentary question asked in the Dáil and it has also led to a number of related terms trending on Twitter.

More documents released on Thursday to The Irish Times, including meeting minutes, show that there were issues between IBRC and the Department of Finance. Opposition politicians have called for an independent inquiry to be set up to examine the sale.


Puppet Power #VoteYes #MarRef

Yesterday, old childhood favourites Dustin the Turkey and Bosco trended on Twitter after the two puppets featured in a video promoting a Yes vote in next month’s Marriage Equality referendum. Their defiance of RTÉ’s no-comment directive has delighted many Twitter users.

The charming video is nostalgic, funny and has a lovely innocence about it. It’s worth a watch whether you are for, against or indifferent when it comes to the referendum. The three minute video features Dustin, who is sporting a flower covered suit, calling Bosco for a chat. Bosco explains everything associated with the marriage referendum in simple terms to Dustin, stating at the end, “I think they should get all the boys and girls to ring all their family and friends and tell them straight up to vote yes!”


Photo: Gloria2020 via Wikimedia Commons