How many times have you turned on RTÉ and heard a news report where a murder victim is described as “known to Gardaí”?
In its initial attempts to explain why it had withdrawn the video of Rory O’Neill referring to members of the Iona Institute and John Waters as homophobes, RTÉ cited ‘reasons of sensitivity‘ following the death of a man who worked at the Iona Institute.
We all know what “known to Gardai” really means. It doesn’t mean that the victim used to apply to the local sergeant for a licence to hold a raffle. It means -as per information supplied to the RTÉ correspondent by Gardaí- that the victim was involved in criminal behaviour.
So, if someone you loved was murdered – your son, your brother, your father, your partner- you might get upset, whilst reeling from the shock and plumbing the depths of despair, to hear the national broadcaster say, in effect: he deserved it. One less scumbag to worry about.
I wonder if there are people murdered in Ireland and, even though the victim is “known to Gardai”, RTÉ declines to supply this information, for reasons of sensitivity.
I wonder: is ‘your son was a scumbag and the nation needs to know that he deserved to die’ worse than being called a homophobe?
I wonder if RTÉ withdraws videos and reports from its website regularly, after families of murder victims object to being goaded and abused in their grief.
Doubt it, somehow. What are these people going to do: contact a lawyer?