Reality bites

"Reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it," said the famous science fiction author Philip K Dick. Former Fianna Fáil Junior Minister Ivor Callely was having difficulty grasping this during his last stand on Pat Kenny's radio show on Thursday, 8 December.

"Good morning to Ivor Callely – good morning."

"Morning, Pat."

"You have resigned?"

"No, I haven't resigned as yet."

Instantly, Kenny must have known he had radio gold in his hands. Ivor Callely had handed in his resignation to Bertie Ahern two hours previously, but here he was denying it live on air.

"I am very, very annoyed this morning," continued Callely. "I think everybody who understands what has happened in the last couple of days in relation to the allegation [that a well-known builder organised for Ivor Callely's house to be painted free of charge]... I understand most people acknowledge that that allegation lacks a lot of credibility."

Usually, Pat Kenny tends to dominate interviews, making unnecessary interruptions, showing off how great his intellect is, giving his own point of view, but even he knew to shut up in this one. Callely would hang himself, if allowed – and that he certainly did.

Speaking about himself in the third person, making allusions to "mischievous, sinister" campaigns against him, and coming out with great widsom such as, "Most women are great at doing the soft-furnishing and colour coordination", Ivor Callely demonstrated a persona so egotistical, so patronising and so lacking in self-awareness, that even Pat Kenny was eclipsed. This will surely go down as one of the most talked-about radio interviews to happen this year.

Even though Kenny's questions were too long-winded – as usual – his rigid, logical thought patterns served to highlight the increasingly delusional rantings of the North Dublin TD. Kenny pointed out that all the allegations against Callely were based on fact, that Callely was embarrassing the Government – but nothing was getting through to Ivor Callely. It was always somebody else's fault.

Eventually, Kenny said, "Do you think you did anything wrong? Do you ever look at yourself and ask, why is this happening?"

Still didn't register. Kenny read out a text message from a caller.

"Tell Ivor to stop digging," it read.

Callely kept going. Extraordinary stuff.

The furore that followed the interview in the Dáil was very well covered by the News At One a few hours later.

Rather than using a correspondent to explain what had happened after Callely went into the Dáil after the Kenny interview, the show's editors merely used long clips of the 'exchanges' that occurred between the Government and opposition benches – and it sounded truly amazing. Unwittingly, listeners tuning in during the middle of the clips would have thought they were listening to a brawl outside a chip shop, or perhaps the audience at a dog fight in the hills of Meath.

It was an exciting week for news and it was radio, more than television or the print media, which reflected that.