Any Questions?

Questions and Answers is no more, though truth be told, it’s been limping for a long time.

In it’s heydey, it could point to the confrontation between the elder Brian Lenihan and Garret Fitzgerald that changed a presidential election. But that was then. When was the last time people talked about QandA on Tuesday morning?

Back in 1988 I got an audience ticket, along with half the students in my college final year.

In the weeks before the show three IRA members were shot in Gibraltar, and Michael Stone attacked mourners at their funerals.

I listened to a debate about Northern Ireland, and an itch started in the back of my brain. The voices I was listening to were southern.

I raised my hand, observing that it was a shame Section 31 censorship meant we couldn’t hear all views on television.

I wasn’t the only northern voice from the audience around that time. A few newspaper columnists got upset. The IRA were infiltrating RTÉ, they screamed, bypassing Section 31. The assumption that a northern accent equalled a Provo showed just how poisonous censorship was.

Shortly afterwards, QandA began screening audiences, and went downhill.

Such was my part in their downfall.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. Maith thú, as I believe the young people say. I hope you will indulge me, Ger, if I cherish the image of you as a chuck in my heart for ever, to be taken out and laughed about when all else is at its most grim.

  2. Indeed; that was, more or less, my point. They had only your accent to go on; had they spent time in the cesspit that is sci (though on the whole it is of course probably better for them that they didn’t), they might have understood how funny is the idea of you serving as a republican subversive.

    Well, yes, even without knowing how you thought about various things, they might simply have reflected that your position was nothing more than what any liberal would have said, and that the movement they accused you of fronting for was not notably liberal. But that would have been expecting too much.

    And if you helped bring down a journalistic endeavour that traded in such cheap nostrums, well then: as I said above.

  3. And if you helped bring down a journalistic endeavour that traded in such cheap nostrums, well then: as I said above

    I wouldn’t go that far, my closing line was a bit tongue-in-cheek. But I’d hope that at least it made a few people think about the insidious effects of censorship.

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