Nevin, Jigs, IQ and more awful TV

Scannal, which looked back at the Catherine Nevin murder case, missed an opportunity to examine the loose ends seemingly neglected by the Garda, while Miriam O'Callaghan and Craig Doyle tested our patience on New Year's day.


This week's Scannal featured Catherine Nevin, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of her husband, Tom Nevin, in 1996. It was an opportunity to review the case and pursue two very obvious questions: who actually pulled the trigger that caused his murder (nobody has suggested it was she) and how reliable was her conviction? Neither question was pursued. Instead, the Garda line in the case was faithfully reproduced.Towards the end of the programme the garda interviewed (I did not get his name because I missed the beginning of the programme), said simply that the Garda file on the case was closed the moment Catherine Nevin was convicted of the murder. Now isn't that interesting?

The Garda and the rest of us know that at least one other person, so far unidentified, actually did the killing and yet they are no longer bothered finding out who this was and having him/her charged with the murder. All the fuss about murders and the rising crime rate and, as far as RTÉ's Scannal is concerned, nothing odd about the Garda not bothering to pursue the perpetrator of a murder. No questions. No inquiries. No problem.Another interesting facet of the programme was that it was acknowledged by one of the journalist interviewees that the evidence against Catherine Nevin came from three people of doubtful credibility, none of whom had any direct evidence concerning the murder. They gave evidence only that Catherine Nevin had tried to suborn them to have her husband murdered and she had offered them money to do that.

Even if you were to believe them, the question arises: if she paid the murderers of her husband to bump him off, where did the money come from? It is not as though she would have been unable to raise that cash one way or another, but wouldn't you think that if she had done so the Garda would have been able to trace it? And if she didn't give the murderer(s) cash, why would they have murdered her husband without some payback? Unless there was some other motive of course, a motive connected with the hypothesis that everyone found incredible: that Tom Nevin was in the IRA. And many have had some complicated dealings with members of that organisation, for whom murder is not entirely an unknown sanction.Isn't it a pity that Scannal didn't bother enquiring? It would have made a far more interesting programme. Maybe the programme makers weren't bright enough, in which case they would have had a harder time than most with the programme that followed on from their treatment of the case of Catherine Nevin, the Test the Nation quiz.

 This was awful television. More Bore the Nation than Test the Nation. Alarmingly, at the beginning of the programme Miriam O'Callaghan said, “Great to be back with another Test the Nation.” They did this before and didn't cop on that this is awful television?Aside from the boredom factor there was also an ideological one: IQ tests are not sociologically neutral (the exact opposite was asserted by the “expert” on the panel). People who come from backgrounds that are intellectually stimulating in ways that IQ test measure, do better on IQ tests. How else could it be that bankers would win such an IQ contest?One of the panel said that prowess in team sports did not necessarily connote high IQ. Of course sport involves issues of coordination, balance and athleticism, but are there any great sports people (that is members of team sports) who are not of high intelligence? Yes, yes, there is the David Beckham factor, but aside from him... Just look at the Cork hurling team or rather Cork hurling teams. Never has anybody played hurling for Cork who did not have an IQ of less than 130. And Christie Ring was pure genius.Fact.

The New Year's eve fare was, again, dismal. Jigs and Reels was the main entertainment show and Podge and Rodge on RTÉ2. Aw, come on. Charlie Bird on the Amazon would be better than that and more entertaining (it will be on Thursday evening, the night of the publication of this issue of Village, so I am relying only on the promotional shots). Could we not have had the best Late Late Show ever or the best Tubridy Show ever? Lots of great music, a bit of comedy, a few good story-tellers. I know one of the latter, my husband, who arrived home blotto at quarter to midnight and he had a great story.