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Monday 20 August 2018

Here's the news from RTE. It's wrong to drink-drive like Baz -- but feel free to be a shameless trickster like Daire

RTE has just announced details of its Rugby World Cup coverage, and in the midst of all its live matches, comprehensive round-ups and expert panels, one name seems to have slipped in under the radar.

The highlights each night will be fronted by a certain Daire O'Brien, the 'high-profile sports presenter' who became embroiled in a rather unsavoury episode back in June.

Daire, you see, walked into a bookies in Dublin city centre, and sweet-talked the girl behind the desk to advance him credit against a bet, claiming that he was just about to go and cash to cheque to pay for it, and would be straight back.

Both the girl and Daire knew this was strictly against company rules, but she obviously couldn't believe that a well-known presenter like this would be trying to con her.

Having placed one bet, instead of going to a bank, Daire sauntered to a nearby pub for some afternoon drinking.

He went back and forth to the bookies until he had run up a debt of €3,000 which, of course, he had no means to pay.

The panicked employee finally reported the case to her superiors, and lost her job for breaking the rules. Daire escaped Scot free, and was apparently not even pursued for the debt.

His name was, however, plastered over the front page of the Sunday World as the culprit, and most people expected this act of shameless fraud to end his RTE career.

Of course, most people were wrong, as the forthcoming rugby coverage will show.

So here's the thing. RTE Radio and TV presenter Baz Ashmawy got caught driving over the limit back in February. His story was reported in the papers, and even before Baz went to court to face charges, RTE's top brass decided that they wouldn't tolerate this kind of behaviour.

He was swiftly, and very publicly, suspended without pay from his job, humiliated by his employers, and forced to conduct a series of grovelling interviews in the press.

According to the station, you see, Baz is a "role model", and they would not tolerate their impressionable viewers and listeners being encouraged to drink drive by the presenters they employ. Which is fair enough, until you consider RTE's treatment of Daire O'Brien.

The man with a widely-known fondness for a jar and a bet gets a young employee sacked by his actions, yet he doesn't get suspended.

There's not a single word of criticism from RTE management about his behaviour. Why?

I can only presume that RTE's message to impressionable viewers that it cares about so much goes something like this.

Driving over the limit? Just so "No".

Drinking, gambling, fraud and shameless preying on a young woman which results in her losing her job?

Hey kids, go for it...

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