Iona Institute Provides Master-Class in Bad PR

If I happened to be running a management course, which I’m not, and if that course happened to have a PR module, which it probably should, there would be no need to cast about for examples of inept public relations.

After all, the gold standard of PR clumsiness has now been set by the ludicrously-named Iona Institute, an obscure prayer-group with aspirations to political influence and with apparently endless access to the State broadcaster, RTÉ.   Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Iona “Institute” managed to place themselves at the heart of a worldwide ridicule-storm, which, of course, you might correctly point out, means nothing to ideologues intent on changing the laws of the small country they inhabit.  That’s perfectly true.  But what the Iona “Institute” people don’t seem to understand is that the Ireland of the 21st century is not the same place as the Ireland of 1932, a long-lost region they yearn for, a place that will never be seen again in this universe or any other.  What they seem to overlook is that Irish people in 2014 inhabit a world where demagogues have been unmasked for the frauds they are, and where overbearing, bullying posturing is the mark of the idiot.

There was a time, not too long ago,  when ideologues held some substance in Ireland and were taken seriously by many, but that day is gone.  How sad for the people associated with Lolek Ltd, trading as the Iona Institute, that they don’t seem to understand the realities of their doomed crusade. How sad for the Iona prayer group to be the last Japanese soldier on the island, yearning for a lost age.  Unfortunately for them, the twilight of Cardinal Paul Cullen’s ultramontane vision has faded into night, even here in this final outpost of extreme Catholic certainty.

It doesn’t matter that I think people calling their prayer-group an Institute are ridiculously-inflated, self-important fools.

And it doesn’t matter that I think their legal threats are simply a means to silence those who disagree with them.

It makes no difference that I laugh at them for being so immature that they can’t tell criticism from hatred.

That’s pretty much what you’d expect of such people.

What does matter is that they have delivered a master-class in ineptitude, and we should all be grateful to them for the lesson.  After all, where are we going to find such a spectacular example of incompetence?

Here we have a bunch of religious ideologues, handed an open goal.  They knew that the State-run broadcaster would fold at the slightest pressure  following its own inept handling of the Reynolds case.  They issued their baseless legal threats and the State-run broadcaster duly obliged, but here’s the rub.

This Christian prayer-group declined the offer of a contribution to a charity and instead opted to grab the cash.

It reminds me of an experiment carried out a while back where the researchers investigated the ability of chimps to recognise written symbols.  When they showed the animals written numerals, they behaved in a perfectly rational manner, but when they showed them jelly-beans the chimps went absolutely crazy.

That was how I saw the Iona reaction to the money.  They turned into a bunch of chimps and that was their downfall.  All they could see was short-term victory, crushing the opposition, and they were too stupid to understand that the rest of the world would see nothing more than a bunch of religious hicks trying to bully people into silence.  As a result, far from stifling  criticism in Ireland, they have managed to make themselves a worldwide object of ridicule.

Suddenly, instead of being a small American-funded prayer group with political ambitions, they’re exposed as an overbearing, narrow-minded crowd of backwater ideologues trying to impose their sterile vision on their fellow citizens.

It doesn’t say much for the quality of their PR management.  Maybe it would be no harm to leave this one off the CV.

26 thoughts on “Iona Institute Provides Master-Class in Bad PR

  1. I really think this could be the end of them. With any luck.

    Or maybe they’ll just re-brand themselves and the Irish people will forget all about it. That seems likely. We didn’t follow up on that whole banking thing, whatever that was about. I don’t recall.

    And why are we letting Waters off the hook, with his handy €30K? Bah!


  2. I hope they keep it up for a bit longer. It’s going spectacularly badly for them, and provides more coverage for the rebuttals to their sh*te.. and what can they offer? A lawyer and some odd senators.

  3. “Unfortunately for them, the twilight of Cardinal Paul Cullen’s ultramontane vision has faded into night, even here in this final outpost of extreme Catholic certainty.”——-I think this sentence sums them up beautifully Bock—-maybe Iona might consider contributing some of the money they have bullied from taxpayers (via our brave custodians of free speech at RTE), to the former slaves of the Magdalene laundries. Wouldn’t that be a nice gesture, but somehow it seems unlikely. The UN have denounced the Vatican for it’s abuse of and failure to protect thousands of vulnerable children and adults in their care ant yet the arrogant self appointed stormtroopers in Iona demand that we follow the narrow path prescribed by our masters in Rome.
    The enslavement of our people runs far far deeper than the excesses of the Magdalene laundries—it had informed the ethos, beliefs and prejudices of generations, and continues to do so.

  4. The Iona Institute and its members were libeled and slandered by one of the hateridden homosexuals who falsely allege respectable people who lead normal lives with a Christian ethos are haters. It was alie and RTE had no option but to accept it. But why should RTE pay and not the libeller? Its a disgrace.I am fed up with pampered mixed up individuals venting their venom and hate on the airways. Marriage is for the union of a man with a woman. That is natural law. Anything else is simply immoral and sinful according to Christian tradition and doctrine..

  5. I fully agree with all the comments that Bock and others have expressed on this subject. it is all very strange that money was paid out so quickly and that should merit a PAC investigation at the least.

    Having said that, we should recognize that RTE (and TV3) at least have the courage still to broadcast this type of thing live – which is what exposes them to potential litigation because they can’t edit.

    Across the water…although it is mostly not noticed, BBC, ITV, C4 dont broadcast much of this type of programming live anymore…..

  6. William, you do realise you’ve just libelled Rory O Neill, don’t you?

    And you know where you can shove your natural law.

  7. William, who are these ‘respectable people who lead normal lives’!? How do you know that they’re respectable. And really, what is a ‘normal’ person and can you define what constitutes a normal life? I have yet to meet a ‘normal’ person.

    Yesterday, my son who is in transition year told me that a teacher ran a quick poll in the class to see who agreed/disagreed with same sex marriage. Only one boy disagreed and when asked why he said, ‘why can’t ‘they’ just be normal’. I know first hand that the father of the boy in question sadly suffers from a psychiatric disorder. And this very probably believes that his father is normal.

    So William, please enlighten us, what is NORMAL?

  8. And William, didn’t we all believe years ago that priests and bankers were ‘respectable’. And we also might have believed in leprechauns and unicorns and that the missionary position was the only position and that it could only be practised within the confines of a marriage.

    But thankfully now most people are educated enough to see through all the hogwash.

  9. Normal! is people of all race, colour with their own sexual preferences all living in community with each other. Apparently many christien citizens say this is not normal and prefer instead to relegate, hate and persuade others to treat others in a way that is not in keeping with christian beliefs. This is known as dominance. As I understand my reading of the bible Jesus was more in favour of the first group and promoted a world without dominance of one group over another. Gay marriage strengthens our community. It puts into focus the intent of peoples state of mind, to live in harmony to love and to share. The history of normal marriage would not be a good example of the sanctity of marriage. 50% divorce, wife beatings, child abuse are all conditions of the institute of normal marriage. Lets not fool ourselves by holding up marriage as the final frontier to be crossed by gays therefore ending family and community life. Its an insult to the intellect of mankind to draw such a conclusion. I am male, aged 59, white and married 40 years to a wonderful woman and do not consider myself normal. To do so would mean giving up my well developed sense of fairness, equality and mercy to all.

  10. I dont think John Waters is irrelevant. He had to resign from the board of RTE in order to pursue them for the lolly. And it is highly significant that he, and O Brien, and Quinn, and O Casey all enjoy unfettered access to the media to hawk their medievil belief system.

    And how and who appointed John Waters to the BAI, who appoints any of them?

    It is clear that these fundamentalists have deeply infiltrated the Irish media, and that this is a deliberate strategy. This is the same Irish media who fearlessly refuse to provide links in any of there online articles in case they are sued. And they provide a handy reference point for RTE, who know if they brought on a priest to make Ionas arguements the public wouldn’t have it. So instead they wheel out the faux institute brigade to defend the indefensible.

    And the same Irish media who supinely bent over for section 31, and who have never knowingly investigated the murky depths of skullduggery and corruption and exposed any wrong doing on the part of their ‘betters’. How many decades of church child abuse did they wilfully not know about or report on?

    @poor William. I feel your pain my man. It is always those with latent homosexual tendencies who most aggessively attack gay and lesbian people. I would guess poor William has had to hide his true self for a very very very long time, and after a lifetime of self hating, just has to project onto the likes of Rory O Neill. A man who at least has the courage of his convictions. Unlike Mr nobody William.

    Well done Bock, I am convinced that David Norris is reading these boards, as many of the points he raised in the Seanad, particularly in reference to their duff use of ‘Institute’. It would be nice of him to acknowledge so if this is the case.

    Come on David, we don’t bite. Well Bock does, but we have to put up with him as he seems to be the only philosopher that this country has at the moment. And I mean that most sincerely since it irks me that Waters hawks himself and is alluded to by some in the media as a philosopher. Cod, bolloxosopher more like.

  11. Just watched Dáil Éireann debate regarding the Panti controversy. It’s like a small window has been opened in a dark dungeon. More of this please.

    Hope you were watching too William Taylor. A tiny bit proud of Deputies Buttimer and Lyons. Thought they seemed like very respectable guys.

  12. I’d say the nascent ‘Creighton’s Tea Party’ are only ready and willing to bring Iona members into their circle. Its an inevitable meeting of like-minds. In the meantime, should Iona require morale boosting support, or wish to project their public image better, they should just get on the wire to myself!

  13. William

    What is you definition of “Hate ridden”? Those who express views at variance with yours ? You say that homosexuality is against Natural Law; what evidence do you have that homosexuality isn’t “natural”?. It is most certainly a minority variant compared to heterosexuality, however I would suggest that homosexuality is entirely natural— for homosexuals. I’m afraid that I have bought into this new-fangled notion that homosexuality is probably genetically determined with perhaps environmental triggers rather than some sort of depraved attention seeking narcissistic lifestyle choice.
    Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your perspective, we live in a democracy (of sorts) rather than a theocracy so we make laws and afford people rights based on the concept of equality rather that “sinfulness”. How quaint is that!
    You refer to people as “respectable”.What is your definition? Is it possible for any homosexual person to be considered “Respectable” or must they be heterosexual and follow strict Christian values? I must declare that my viewpoint may be somewhat biased here. I belong to a somewhat narrow group of individuals–I am white, university educated,upper-middle-class heterosexual and married with children although I am unlikely to meet the full criteria for respectability as I don’t play golf.
    You refer to homosexuals as “pampered and mixed up”.So if one man loves another or one woman loves another, in your part of the Galaxy they are by definition “mixed up”
    My definition of “pampered and mixed up” is the nauseating image of an ex Nazi dressed in his finery and red shoes fiercely protecting his dysfunctional church whilst vulnerable children and adults are abused by his priests. Is this the God system you follow William?
    Vox Populi, Vox Dei.Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

  14. Ha s anyone noticed the irony of insisting that mum and dad is the norm. the same normals who handed their children wholesale to the church to do what they wanted with them.

    And most child sexual abuse takes place in the normal family.

    mind you given that marriage was invented as a means for men to sell their girl children and to ensure the bloodline, and not to grant their child a right to a mother and father, the whole concept of marriage in the literal (not legal) sense is diminished.

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  16. why is there such a taboo attached to bi-sexuality in the media? i never hear of biphobia, and im told that a big lot of married folk are doing the wild thing with fellow gender just like our cousins the chimps. must be d’oul guilt complex, but whatever it is this is very puzzling indeed………………….

  17. Apologies Bock, no malice intended. Mea culpa. As I think about it, I admit that the comment left by myself was insensitive and thoughtless.

  18. It’s easily done. Nothing wrong with black humour, but I’ve learned that a public website is not the best place for it.

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