Michael O'Doherty: The ugly side of fame... seeking justice for the Tallafornia One
I have previously written about the disturbing recent, slightly disturbing trend, of posting footage on social media threatening to name and shame alleged criminals, rather than leaving it in the hands of the gardai.
In May, the owner of a shop in Terenure threatened to expose the thief of two hanging baskets, unless said floral appendages were returned. In July, Dubliner Emma Murphy took to social media to accuse her former partner of assaulting her, with the result that he was convicted by a baying public before even being questioned by the gardai.
And this week, hurling star Lar Corbett has taken to twitter to try and identify the man who burgled his pub, ominously warning that "I will be taking the law into my own hands".
It is easy to feel the frustration of these victims, especially with the cutbacks in Garda numbers making it increasingly difficult for the force to investigate crimes, never mind having a physical presence to help deter them in the first place.
It's one thing to try and get coverage of your misfortune in order to catch the assailant, however it's quite another to talk about it in order to boost your own waning celebrity profile. Which brings us nicely to former Tallafornia star Phil Penny.
Perhaps it was the sight of his former co-star, Marc O'Neill, hogging the headlines courtesy of his recent turn in Big Brother, that made Phil miss having his name in lights. And so comes the news this week that Phil has attracted the unwanted attention of a female stalker.
But judging by the manner in which Phil has reacted to his trauma, one may question just exactly how unwanted this attention is. Because curiously enough for someone who is being pursued by a "deranged" woman, Phil seems unusually concerned about what this obsessive fan looks like. Having asked the lady in question to meet him face to face - the way you do with a stalker - he has surmised that the reason she refuses to do so is quite simple: she's not that attractive.
"If she was in any way good looking," surmised the great man, "I think she would have tried to have shown me what she looks like," before raging that without her name, he can't even check her out on Facebook to see whether she's pretty or not.
The problem for Phil, it would seem, is not that he's being stalked by a woman. The problem is that he's being stalked by an ugly woman.
Furthermore, despite fearing for his safety at the hands of someone he describes as "deranged", he hasn't actually complained to the gardai, but instead has chosen to speak to a journalist about his trauma.
All of which makes you wonder whether it is publicity, rather than security, that Phil is looking for...
We can only wish Phil the best of luck with his living nightmare. If one were to offer a word of advice, however, it would be not to bother the gardai with this appalling invasion of privacy. They have their hands full at the moment with even more weighty matters.
Like catching the guy who stole the hanging baskets.
Taxpayers on different financial wavelength as RTE delivers the same old tunes
Come with me, if you will, for another of our regular jaunts to the parallel universe that is the RTE finance department.
Because after a few years of austerity while trying to get its house in order, RTE is back to its old profligate ways.
Hot on the heels of last week's revelation that staff are going to be put back to their pre-2009 salaries, comes the news that one of the national broadcaster's favourite ways of wasting taxpayer money - taxi fares - is on the increase again.
Figures for 2014 show that RTE spent an scarcely-credible €388,000 on taxis in the greater Dublin area alone. That equates to €1,100 on taxis every day of the year, yet they insist that the station is "efficiently run".
Just as perplexing is their treatment of highly-paid staff whose best days they feel are behind them. In most companies, when someone's career is on the wane, they are politely thanked for their years of service and handed a parting gift.
But last week, in yet another instance of RTE's practice of broadcasting euthanasia, one more DJ is quietly moved from a prime-time, weekday slot to the relative obscurity of weekend radio, while still being kept on the payroll.
This week, it's the turn of venerable choon-churner Rick O'Shea, who has inevitably attempted to put a brave face on his demotion to the retirement home that is weekend radio, declaring that "I'm thrilled to be a big part of this new and exciting schedule." And as he joins Larry Gogan, Dave Fanning and Colm Hayes on this "exciting schedule", all of whom have recently been considered not to fit into 2FM's plans, one question begs itself.
If RTE management think that these ageing, and well-paid, jocks' shows aren't working on Monday to Friday, what makes them think they will work on Saturdays and Sundays?
Sex and the good people of Leitrim
I am delighted to see that following the scandal of the Ashley Madison cheater's website names being revealed, the good people of Leitrim are in the clear.
Because a report in the Leitrim Observer confirmed that there we no statistics regarding natives of that county being registered with the website, thereby placing it top of the league in terms of good behaviour in Ireland.
One may, of course, point out that in a table of the highest number of tax offenders in the country, recently released by the Revenue Commissioners, Leitrim came third, to which a cynic might suggest the following.
Of course Leitrim men aren't cheating on their wives. They're too busy cheating the Revenue...
Victoria smiles for a snap ... at a snip
Poor Victoria Smurfit, who attracted ridicule last week when she appeared at the Comic Con event in Dublin’s RDS.
It was revealed that fans of the Irish actress would be charged €20 to procure her autograph, thereby answering the question as to what the “con” part of the event’s name referred to.
A spokesperson said it is common practice to do this for access to guests, none of which diminishes the embarrassment of charging such a puny amount for a small piece of memorabilia.
You have to feel sorry for Victoria, who probably had nothing to do with this absurd charge, because her management are obviously blissfully unaware of one universal truth.
There’s only one thing worse than a con job. And that’s a cut-price one...
- Taxpayers on different financial wavelength as RTE delivers the same old tunes
- Sex and the good people of Leitrim