Pat Rabbitte Exits Right
I have only met Pat Rabbitte, former Labour Party Leader, once. First impressions last as they say. I found him to be rude and powerless, this was at the height of his career as Minister for Communications. I decided to rush down to Cork to go to RTÉ's 50th celebrations at UCC. It was made up of the usual heads and a few of the public. Actually having it in Cork meant that much of the Dublin media were absent, meaning a slightly better conversation about Broadcasting in Ireland.
This meeting was on the 8th of September 2012. A month before digital switchover. I ask politely to speak with the minister and the request was granted. At this meeting I outlined the problems faced with DSO. Now what got me was his clear lack of knowledge on the subject, he had no time to discuss the proposed Irish Film Channel, Oireachtas TV or changes to his predecessor’s decision on new RTÉ services, all issues that remain to this day.
Initially he was very annoyed at me and berated me for approaching him, as if to say who are you? This was not in any way polite. He was fuming.
To me this was his demeanor though out his time as Minister for Communications. He showed this side of him once more on a Prime Time debate when he suggested that a man in the audience wouldn't be happy no matter what decision he was to take. It was dismissive.
On a number of occasions, I asked my local TDs to put forward questions regarding RTÉ proposal on RTÉjr and weather he was planning to make a decision? The first answer was a polite a decision will be made "soon", the second was the same a decision would be made “soon” and 6 months later his final answer was please refer to my last answer. In other words, he'd make his decision "soon". He never made that decision and the new Minister Alex White advised the Dail that RTÉ had withdrawn their proposal.
To me Pat Rabbitte showed his true colours. If he could not make a decision on such a minor issue how could he be able to make any decision, either from his own ideological views, for the people he represents or at the very least from a government point of view.