Anti-spin? Hook praises FG despite Newstalk pledge
IS THIS what Fine Gael had in mind when they offered a fresh alternative for the Irish people?
While Newstalk boasts of its opposition to State-run spin its presenter 'Grumpy old George' is spinning for the Opposition.
Broadcaster George Hook sang the praises of Fine Gael and Enda Kenny as he delivered a rallying call to the party's troops in Dublin.
Hook, who recently banned politicians from his daily current affairs programme, described Fine Gael as "this great party".
And to rapturous applause, he said: "Remember, this party was asked after the bloodthirsty battles of the Civil War to save the country.
"This party was asked after the voodoo economics of Jack Lynch to save the country.
"The party was asked after the sleaze of Haughey to save the country. And it may well be asked again when this country that won its independence in blood may have given it away in a welter of fraud to become a vassal state of Europe."
Newstalk recently launched a major advertising campaign with the tagline: "Get the truth without the State-run spin ... Only on Newstalk." But Mr Hook made his pro-Fine Gael comments in front of more than 500 of the party's supporters at the Aviva Stadium.
At the same function Enda Kenny emphatically announced that he would not accept "one red cent" from a teaching pension, including some money that he contributed to the fund.
As he eyes up the country's top job, Mr Kenny said he wanted nobody to be under "any illusions that the leader of the Fine Gael party is any way involved in a money situation here".
He turned down the €100,000 lump sum due in April following criticism from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who accused him of "rank hypocrisy" over pension and severance issues.
Mr Kenny said the allegations brought the election debate "to a new level of guttersnipe politics".
In his introduction, Hook said that Mr Kenny had lifted the "tattered standard of Fine Gael" with "effort, organisation and above all a huge amount of his personal time. He has brought his party to where they are today".
The Herald understands that the rugby pundit will be absent for much of Newstalk's election result coverage next weekend because of his commitments to RTE's Six Nations coverage.