The radio show ‘Liveline’ is a barometer of the Irish day. Sat snugly in the after-lunch snooze period, it either facilitates that slumber, or raises the eyelid of the nation with indignation or empathy. It has achieved enough fame (or should that be familiarity) for parody, and yet it sticks to the same formula every day. There is no attempt to think of anything new on the ‘Liveline’ – the gameplan is the plain people of Ireland, speaking their minds, on the issues of the day.
And yet. And yet. There is a large and growing constituency of people living in Ireland who would consider themselves to be average and normal, but they are not represented in the national conversation, as it is conducted by the presenter of Liveline, Joe Duffy. That group can be classified in various ways, but the simplest and crudest would be those people that don’t find Brendan O’Carroll to be particularly funny, or those that don’t spend their days longing for former great days in the poverty-striken tenements of ‘Dubbalin in the rare ould Times‘.