While a series of current affairs heavyweights may come to mind when thought turns to breaking news, last night it was a far less likely source which produced the final twist in one of the stories of the year.
In a rare scoop for RTÉ’s often ridiculed Podge and Rodge’s Stickit Inn show, the all-too-blue programme gave further reason for the public’s Fás red mist by revealing the details of the employment agency’s four TV advertisements which cost €600,000 despite never being broadcast.
In what the show admitted was an “unlikely coup” for public interest, the programme’s producers received the films under the Freedom of Information Act – although their presenter puppets said they were sent on “an unmarked Betamax tape”.
During last night’s show, the puppets explained that the expensive 30-second videos were not made public after they were filmed because the under-fire state agency did not have the money for the broadcasting fee.
However, revealing them to a nation part shocked at how a small fortune was spent on advertisements which effectively said nothing, half shocked at who they were hearing the information from, the show said their eventual broadcasting was vital to highlighting the financial scandals at the state body.
Among the key parts of the four expensive and ultimately irrelevant advertisements – each of which lasted just 30 seconds – were suggestions an office cleaner could switch careers and become a nuclear scientist on the International Space Station.
Another advertisement showed a menial store man becoming a factory manager.
A third ad indicated that an office worker had become more powerful because “she now gets to wear a sharper suit and work a flowchart”.
“The advertisements seem to suggest that blue collar work is criminal and that 60% of the Irish working population should be deeply ashamed of their jobs. If Fás had their way there’d be no cleaners, storemen or secretaries left in the country, and we’d all be powerpoint touting marketeers spouting jargon in totally manky offices” said Podge and Rodge.