Next time you find yourself in front of a judge, for speeding, or whatever, make sure to tell his or her honour that you are deeply sorry and that lessons have been learned.

Maybe, to emphasise the point, you could pledge to go on a course that teaches you about the speed limit:

A HEALTH AND safety review carried out by RTÉ into a retirement gathering at the national broadcaster’s campus in Dublin 4 last month found that up to 40 people were in RTÉ’s TV reception area during the event….

….An examination of the footage found a number of examples where public health advice was breached in terms of not social distancing, not wearing face coverings, and being in a crowded area….

….The review noted that there was an “evident departure” from a Covid-19 controlled environment while photos were being taken. This resulted in people “momentarily ignoring public health advice to pose for pictures in an unprotected way”.

The probe made five main recommendations including that all present at the gathering retake RTÉ’s Covid-19 induction training. The online Covid-19 induction training session takes about 20 minutes to complete.

All managers at the broadcaster will also be asked to retake training sessions to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are adhered to.

Not just “take” RTE’s induction training course, you’ll note. They have to re-take it. In other words, they’d all taken the course already, but broke the rules anyway.

Must not be a very good course, so.

Anyway, that’s the end of that. No sackings. No resignations. Everybody’s sorry, lessons have been learned, and we’ll all move on to covering more important stories, like politicians breaking the rules, or something.

And maybe that’s how it should be. Nobody died, after all. The breaches in the restrictions might have been genuinely bad, but they were also genuinely human. It’s likely that there are a great many of you, reading this, who have done something similar, or fully intend to do it, this Christmas.

And in any case, there’s something a little bloodthirsty about the desire to see people punished.

At the same time, though, there are very few more blatant examples of the double standard that exists in Ireland, about who gets the benefit of the doubt, and a second chance, and who does not. There’s a protected class that can always avail itself of the benefit of the doubt, and then there’s the rest of us.

It’s worth noting that the offence committed here was largely the same as the offense committed by Dara Calleary and Phil Hogan. Both of those men lost their jobs. Then we had this, back in September:

“Gardaí have objected to the renewal of a licence for a pub on Achill Island in Co Mayo for alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations in one of the first cases of its kind.”

In one case, we have the state trying to close – permanently – a business for breaches of the rules. But a state-run business, which RTE is, gets to learn lessons and move on. It’s unjust, and it is inequitable.

And the punishment by the state for Covid breaches is consistent, if you own a pub:

“Earlier today, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that new legislation to give gardaí additional powers of enforcement will allow them to close down pubs for up to a month if they are in breach of public health guidelines.

She said they will do so when a publican refuses to comply with the rules.”

So, if a pub breaches the Covid rules, it can be closed down for up to a month. But when RTE is caught red-handed breaching the rules it gets….. no sanction whatsoever?

Why is it that in Ireland there is always one law for the protected class, and another law for the little guy?

And then people wonder why Sinn Fein are polling so well.