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RTE wins TV battle by a mile as A-team shines

Nobody, not even the most seriously addicted politics junkie, could watch two full days of television election results coverage.

Certainly not if they had something approximating a life.

The best you can do is dip in and out as the hours drag on, in the hope of not missing out on any really important stuff. To be honest, I barely dipped into TV3 at all. Amusing as Vincent Browne, bubbling with bile and going full-throttle at a politician's throat, can be, there was only one place to go for considered coverage and that was RTE1.

The state broadcaster has the budget, the technical resources and the personnel, so the least you'd expect is comprehensive treatment of the weekend's events. And comprehensive is what we got.

RTE brought out the A-team for the two days: Bryan Dobson, Pat Kenny, Miriam O'Callaghan, Richard Crowley and the masterly John Bowman, sage as ever, plus a supporting cast of politicians, ex-politicians, soon to be ex-politicians, analysts, advisers, spin doctors and number crunchers. If one man was in his element, though, it was Pat Kenny, who had a shiny new toy -- better than anything he'd ever seen on The Late Late Toy Show -- to play with: a huge touchscreen with fancy graphics detailing everything from vote percentages and seat numbers to the ratio of breakfast rolls to healthy cereals the politicians had eaten that morning.

But despite the elaborate studio set-up and the excellence of the RTE team, there was a distinct lack of tension about the weekend. Everyone knew Fianna Fail was about to be crushed; all that remained was to find out what the scale of the destruction would be.

A handful, though, still seemed to be having trouble grasping the reality of it all. Mary Hanafin, just prior to losing her seat, spoke of the hostile reaction she'd encountered on doorsteps and how the hammering her party had taken was "like a tsunami".

Sorry, Mary, tsunamis kill people; all that's happened to you lot is you've lost your jobs, just like countless other people in this country.