With the impending arrival of Storm Ophelia, said by Met Éireann to be a category 3 storm by the time it makes landfall on Monday, RTÉ have taken the only rational approach to covering the potentially destructive weather event. They have announced that they will be sending Teresa Mannion to Ireland's most southerly point, Mizen Head, to continuously report on the storm for its entire duration.
"This is an unprecedented move in the history of broadcasting and represents the kind of pioneering innovation that RTÉ has, and continues to be, renowned for," an RTÉ spokesperson, Donnacha Thrush, said of the announcement. "We will have a live 24hr webcast set up where RTÉ Player users can log on at any point and see Ms. Mannion reporting on the storm. Ms. Mannion will strive to bring you up to the minute descriptions of just what conditions there are like, as she struggles to retain basic purchase on the soggy peninsula, battered by high winds and rain."
When asked if what they were doing was in any way humane, Mr. Thrush added, "We at RTÉ endeavour to ensure our presenters' safety in any scenario they are placed in. Since we realised that viewers appear to relish seeing Ms. Mannion in increasingly fraught weather-based fiascoes, we have been doing our utmost to train her so that she is ready to cope with the duress of broadcasting for at least 24 hours in a category 3 storm." When asked what this training involved, he said, " Basically, it involved Ms. Mannion standing in waterproofs under a power shower, attempting to read a news report while an intern buffeted her with prolonged gusts from a leaf-blower."
There were fears that Ms. Mannion may, at some point during the broadcast, baulk at what she'd been tasked with and flee into the Cork countryside. "Yes, we considered this possibility and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure Ms. Mannion remains on duty. She will be shackled by the ankle, using a high-strength steel chain, to a nearby turnstile," added Mr. Thrush. "For food and water, there will be a pillar of kebab meat positioned just out of frame which she has permission to gnaw on for approximately 5 minutes every 3 hours or so. For water... well, it's a storm, there won't be an issue with that."
We briefly caught up with Ms. Mannion before she was loaded into the van to take her from RTÉ to the blustery peninsula. "Please! Alert the police. Don't make me go! I haven't seen my family in months. I just want to spend some time indoors!"