- 16 Apr 01
Despite its good intentions, Channel 4’s recent After Dark special on the Church and sex in Ireland didn’t shed much light on the issues raised. Night owl: LIAM FAY
Last Saturday night’s After Dark programme on Channel 4 was a dog’s dinner of absurdity, waffle and ineptitude. The topic for discussion, Ireland: Sex and Celibacy, Church and State, couldn’t have been more meaty. Unfortunately, the chosen panel turned out to be all too meaty themselves, in the worst sense possible. This was a feast of hams and turkeys.
It was, nevertheless, inadvertently revealing on a number of fronts. And, it has to said, Channel 4 should be applauded for at least attempting to devote three hours of serious debate to the recent staggering upheavals in the Irish Catholic Church. If only we had a national broadcasting service of our own in this country.
Not having checked the weather forecast first to see if hell had indeed frozen over, the host, Helena Kennedy Q.C., was surprised that none of the Irish bishops invited had deigned to appear. The only official representative of the clergy present was Fr. Tom Stack, Communications Officer for the Dublin Diocese. His performance was astounding, a bizarre blend of haughtiness, disdain and downright tomfoolery. His attitude proved conclusively that the Church establishment here have yet to face up to the far-reaching implications of the events of the past few years.