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Planet Business: ‘Yes, the salary is enormous’ and other quotes of the year

Apologies, denials, deadly cocktails and some good old-fashioned warnings of imminent doom: 2023 had many lines to remember

RTÉ drama

“Yes, the salary is enormous, I understand that, but that doesn’t affect my soul.”

Ryan Tubridy’s response to an Oireachtas committee in July after it is suggested his integrity has been damaged by the controversy. The line was soon immortalised in the chorus of a satirical song by comedian Michael Fry.

“I’m not going to advise anyone.”

In July, Minister for Media Catherine Martin urges people to remember “the good of public service broadcasting”, but stops short of telling them to actually pay their television licence fee.


“What a treat it is to have The Late Late Show on again after the news.”

Patrick Kielty references the RTÉ payments scandal – more than once – during his opening monologue to The Late Late Show as he makes his September debut.

Social issues

“I’ve long been inspired by your vision to create a brighter future.”

Linda Yaccarino declares herself a massive fan of new boss Elon Musk as she leaves her NBCUniversal advertising sales chief role in May to become chief executive of Musk-owned Twitter, now known as X.

“If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f**k yourself. Go f**k yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is . . . Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience.”

Elon Musk rants about advertisers deserting the platform, using a public interview at November’s DealBook summit in New York to single out Disney chief executive Bob Iger for having the temerity not to do business with X.

“Well, that’s somebody’s f**k-up, not mine thankfully.”

An Irish official tells the website Politico that it wasn’t their responsibility to post Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s full statement on the release of Hamas kidnap victim Emily Hand, after his “innocent child who was lost has now been found” post sparks anger in Israel in November.

All apologies

“As a parent, I sympathise deeply with the families of the victims of this appalling act, and mourn for all the innocent lives lost in this and other wars.”

Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave condemns the actions of Hamas in October in the course of apologising for his posts on X about Israel’s attacks on Gaza. His earlier remarks triggered the withdrawal of big-name tech companies and celebrity speakers from this year’s event and led to his resignation as CEO.

“I am deeply sorry for what has happened and my part in this episode and for that I apologise unreservedly to everyone.”

Dee Forbes resigns as director general of RTÉ in June days after she was suspended from the role following the revelation that RTÉ made hidden payments to Tubridy. She subsequently declines to answer questions about the affair on health grounds.

“I regret it has placed a spotlight on Irish football for all the wrong reasons and has evoked memories of the recent past that Irish football needs to move on from.”

Football Association of Ireland chief Jonathan Hill apologises in December after it transpires he scored what is technically known in the corporate governance world as an own goal. (He received extra payments in lieu of holidays not taken).

Economic priorities

“Our obsession with inexorable economic expansion expresses, perhaps, a desire to transcend our material limits and rise above the state of nature. Yet this growth fixation paradoxically increases the potency of those very limits.”

President Michael D Higgins, in a speech in April, takes aim at what he calls “empty economics”, lamenting how obsessed successive Irish governments have been with an “inexorable growth narrative”.

“Give us a decade of zero growth and see how that works out.”

Economist Jim Power is one of several from his field to respond to the President’s remarks, which are variously criticised for being outdated, convoluted and out-of-touch.

“Do we also have on our mind . . . what pain it inflicts? It is on our mind, I can assure you.”

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde says policymakers are mindful of how “hard” interest rate increases are for households with variable rate mortgages, but warns in September that rates will remain high “as long as necessary” to whittle down inflation.

God bless America

“He’s now in Ireland, he’s not going to have a news conference when the world is exploding. I own property in Ireland, I’m not going to Ireland. The world is exploding around us.”

Donald Trump implies in April that Joe Biden has got his priorities wrong by visiting Ireland. Trump flew into Doonbeg, his Co Clare resort, less than a month later.

“This is more like an episode of Succession than last night’s episode of Succession.”

ABC talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel reacts with a modicum of glee to “news from within the Fox family” in April, as the Murdochs move to fire prime-time Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“Certainly that balloon was not helpful, which is why we shot it down.”

US vice-president Kamala Harris explains how US-China relations are faring in February shortly after a surveillance balloon is discovered entering North American airspace, ratcheting up tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Science fiction

“It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.”

Geoffrey Hinton, “godfather” of artificial intelligence, sounds the alarm in May about some of the “quite scary” potential dangers of AI, not long after quitting his role at Google.

“When you have a combination of Wall Street, greed, technology and whizz kids that I am not seeing exemplify a great deal of empathy – it’s a deadly cocktail, in my opinion. And I don’t want us to have to drink that poison anymore.”

Fran Drescher, president of US actors’ union Sag-Aftra, warns in August against Hollywood’s potential misuse of AI, one of the issues that prompts long strikes by both actors and writers during 2023.

“It’s the world that sci-fi has promised us for a long time – and for the first time, I think we could start to see what that’s gonna look like.”

Open AI chief executive Sam Altman, newly reinstalled at the AI research organisation after a four-day wilderness, claims in December that artificial general intelligence (AGI) will be “the most powerful technology humanity has yet invented”, ignoring the fact that many sci-fi worlds are, in fact, raging dystopias.

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