What must poor Dara Calleary be thinking, having resigned his job as minister for agriculture for the crime of having eaten a few spuds? And Seán O’Rourke, you’ll recall, has been blacklisted from RTÉ for attending the same dinner.

It’s one rule for those two, and another for other people, apparently:

Some of RTÉ’s top stars, including Miriam O’Callaghan and Bryan Dobson, have apologised after it emerged they had briefly posed for photos at a leaving party for a colleague without any masks and without adhering to social distance guidelines.

News at One’s Bryan Dobson, Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan, and Six One’s David McCullagh were among those who attended an impromptu gathering for RTÉ staff member Phil Collins who was leaving the broadcaster.

The hilarious thing about this, of course, is that we’re expected to believe that the only time – at a leaving party – social distancing regulations were breached was when everybody decided to stand in for photos at the end.

Up until that point, as the story goes, everybody had been behaving immaculately, keeping the full two metres away, wearing their masks…. And then the cameras appeared, and – being RTE stars – they lost the run of themselves completely.

Seems plausible, right?

Jon Williams is sticking to that story, anyway:

In a note to newsroom staff today, RTÉ’s Head of News Jon Williams apologised to colleagues for the embarrassment caused by the photographs.

“It was only for a moment and it was done with the best of intentions – as indeed were the actions of other colleagues. But it was wrong. And I’m very sorry,” he wrote.

Anyway, if you’re worrying that nobody will be held accountable, then worry no more: RTÉ is on the case, investigating thoroughly:

This story is, of course, absurd: A year ago, it is impossible to imagine that we, or anyone else, would have cared about RTÉ “stars” standing in a photograph with other RTE “stars”. It should not be newsworthy, and it certainly should not be controversial.

But at the same time, this is the national broadcaster which has been completely committed to propagandising for the Government’s various lockdown restrictions, and reporting critically on those individuals and groups who have contravened NPHET advice. Just yesterday, for example, it featured an interview with doom-monger in Chief, Sam McConkey, blaming carelessness around Halloween for the recent, modest, increase in Covid cases.

The biggest impediment to any sense of national solidarity during the present crisis is the idea that people aren’t equal, and that we’re not, actually, all in this together, and that there’s one rule for the ordinary person, and another rule for the elite. After all, what’s the difference between a leaving party for an RTE colleague, and a birthday party for a child who’s turning 10 or 12? And if “it was just for a moment” is a good excuse for RTÉ, why isn’t it a good excuse for everybody else.

The infuriating thing about this incident isn’t that it happened – it’s the excuse making.

Is it really that hard to say “this was entirely unacceptable and we unreservedly apologise”?

But then again, RTÉ wasn’t that keen on accepting apologies from the likes of Calleary and O’Rourke, so maybe that wouldn’t work either.

Embarrassing.