Cork’s 96 FM DJ Neil Prendeville is a man known by some as the mouth of the south. Prone to the kind of hyperbolic righteous indignation that would make God blush. Neil Prendeville’s daily talk show is the most listened-to programme on Irish local radio with 100,000 listeners tuning in each day. People listen to his righteous musing’s on everything from politicians to the mating habits of the Penguins in Fota Wildlife park. Mildly amusing, sometimes interesting, but never educational.
For the wider national public Neil is more fondly remembered for his alleged antics on a plane. In 2010, the IRISH EXAMINER broke a story, that Aer Lingus was in the process of making a formal complaint to gardaí following an incident in which the high-profile radio presenter allegedly whipped it out and started to masturbate while seated beside two passengers. The radio presenter explained he blacked out as a result of mixing alcohol and painkillers.
Sure it could happen to any of us……
The DPP chose not to bring charges against him for the incident.
Yesterday, during his daily morning show he went on an extraordinary ill-informed rant. He blamed, African’s, Ming Flanagan, foreign aid, U2, a corrupt education system, former Russians, the Seanad, Gardai and of course politicians, for the countries many woes. I thought he was going to blame it on the boogie at one stage.
You can read the rant HERE on the 96FM Facebook page and the claims made by Facebook users that his statement was racist.
There are a couple of issues with Neil’s rant. It is never a good idea to marginalise immigrants in society, enforcing stereotypes and blaming immigrants for being part of societies woes is not the answer. It should not even be part of the question.
Neil engaged in lazy journalistic hyperbole, getting his figures about the amount of young people leaving Ireland spectacularly wrong. The National Youth Council of Ireland has said, In the past four years, 300,000 people have emigrated from the Republic of Ireland; four out of 10 of them were aged 15 – 24. Not 500,000 as was claimed.
He does rightfully lament the mass emigration endured by the youth of Ireland, but without a trace of irony, he also scolds us. ‘We provide medical cards to Africans while Irish children go sick’. Is one child’s life worth more than another because they weren’t born in Ireland? Is an Irish life in Australia worth more than an African life in Ireland?
Neil also reminds us of a recent tragedy, the child of a family originally from eastern Europe died on the side of a road in Cork, while waiting on an ambulance. He also says, we are giving “former Russians social welfare”. I don’t know if the child’s family was receiving social welfare, but I do know this poor family is one these so-called “former Russians” he speaks of. Stigmatising people who have made Ireland their home, whom pay taxes and contribute to Irish society is the soapbox rant of a ill-informed, attention seeking narcissist.
Who are these ‘former Russians’ Neil speaks of? Are they people who have renounced Russia and become Irish? Or does Neil mean countries that made up part of the former U.S.S.R. Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians. Yes those pesky former Russians, who were invaded, brutalised and sent to gulags en masse for trying to resist Soviet Russian rule. If you take issue with these ‘former Russians’ on your radio programme, it might be an idea to brush up on history and geography, especially since the cold war ended.
Neil also goes on to launch an attack on foreign aid and stigmatise people claiming social benefits in one broad generalising swoop.
“Billions in welfare and benefits annually to people, not all but enough, who don’t need nor deserve them, except to work and claim, drive new cars and watch flat screen hd tv’s…….”
He does all this without one shred of statistical evidence.
If you recently have had the misfortune to visit the social welfare office be sure and say that you bought the HD TV and car when you had a job.
“We allow international multi national superstores to invade our country and decimate small to medium size Irish businesses, many family run for generations, through bulk buying and below cost selling.”
This might come as a shock to Neil, but these multinational superstores employ Irish people who earn a living and pay their taxes. Tesco Ireland employes around 13,000 people. Lidl Ireland employes 3,500 people in 160 stores. Aldi has 100 stores. Dunnes an Irish owned superstore has 155 stores in the Group employing about 15,000 people. Should we just have the one Irish owned superstore with a monopoly and put everyone else on the dole with their flat screen TV’s and cars. These companies also source and buy Irish goods to sell in their shops, benefiting the wider economy.
Yes, these shops drive down costs, but this allows people to purchase cheaper goods giving a better standard of living in a society as a whole. These are the same stores that provide radio stations with revenue through advertising.
Neil makes some valid points about the country being over taxed, banks, a shoddy health service and politicians that weaken societies belief in our political system. Once you begin to marginalise these Africans and former Russians by introducing them as one of the reason’s our country is on its knees then you have lost the debate.
Neil’s final lament is about a national media that fail to ask the hard questions.Which would seem to suggest he takes no notice of local and national print media that have a government under siege. He didn’t ask any hard questions he just questioned other peoples character. A man who had doubts cast on his character in recent years should know better than to do the same to those all ready stigmatised in Irish society.
Neil Prendeville’s radio rant was that of a shameless, self-indulgent shock jock, cynically looking to increase his listenership figures.
What Irish Radio really needs with the likes of Prendeville is an intelligence knob that you can turn up, like you would the volume.