Tag Archives: Complaints

Ryan Tubridy interviewing Stefanie Preissner, Michael Harding and Blindboy Boatclub, of The Rubberbandits, on the Late Late Show on January 6; from the BAI’s most recent report on complaint decisions

This afternoon.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced its most recent decisions concerning complaints from the public.

It reviewed and rejected 11 complaints it received about Blindboy Boatclub, of The Rubberbandits, referring to the eucharist as “haunted bread” and Stefanie Preissner saying how, as a child, the eucharist being described as body and blood conjured up images of cannibalism, on the Late Late Show in January.

In reference to one of the complaints, the BAI decided:

The Committee noted the discussion as a whole. In this respect, the comments that were deemed by the complainant to be offensive were articulated as part of a broad conversation on faith, which arose from the presenter asking the panellists about the manner in which they spent the Christmas period.

The first contributor, Mr. Michael Harding, outlined how he shied away from the traditional Christmas dinner and instead ate Indian food. He noted his fondness for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights and commented on the beauty of this festival.

The conversation turned to Mr. David Cambers of The Rubberbandits who detailed his Christmas celebrations in a surrealist manner that is the hallmark of the artistic/comedy act of which he is one member.

Finally, Ms. Stefanie Preissner spoke about her disillusionment with the commercial nature of Christmas festivities. The conversation then progressed to a discussion about the Catholic belief and practice, in terms of the decline of vocations and the rise and impact of secularisation on Irish life and faith, the issue of how young people have responded to a decline in traditional Catholic faith and practices and the question of where they can find spiritual ‘refuge’, if at all or indeed if even necessary.

It was at this point in the programme that one of the contributors also featured made reference to The Eucharist as ‘haunted bread’.

While not agreeing with the contention by the broadcaster that this panellist was speaking for his generation, the Committee considered it legitimate for a panellist to articulate their own personal views. In this instance, his views dealt with a religious tenet which rests on a belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in The Eucharist, a belief which may be difficult to reconcile for those who hold other religious beliefs or or no religious belief and one which the panellist did not appear to hold.

At that point in the programme, the other contributors reflected on this topic. Ms. Preissner spoke about how, as a child, The Eucharist being described as the body and blood of Christ conjured up images of cannibalism.

Mr. Harding spoke about how, over time, the belief in Transubstantiation has for some become difficult to understand, either for those who may only value the empirical or those who value only their own perspective regardless of facts.

Mr. Harding also spoke about the value of belief once it is not a belief that is imposed on others. Learning that Mr. Harding was a former priest, Mr. Chambers apologised for any offence that his description of The Eucharist may have caused him.

The Committee did not agree with the view of the complainant that Ms. Preissner was equating The Eucharist with cannibalism as it was clear that she was describing her thoughts as a child.

Regarding the comments by Mr. Chambers, the Committee considered his comments an expression of his own views rather than a comment on the views of others and did not agree that they were intended to mock the faith of others.

Regarding the view of the complainant that a reference to the attendance at Christmas midnight mass of people who are ‘half-cut’ with drink as being offensive; the Committee considered this a humorous reference to what may, on occasion, have been the experience of some parishioners at Christmas.

Read the complaints and decisions in full here

Previously: Maligning The Host


Newstalk presenter Chris Donoghue

On June 27, 2014, Newstalk presenter Chris Donoghue – during a feature on the Gay Pride Parade in Dublin – said, in a referendum on same-sex marriages, he would vote in favour of changing Ireland’s legislation to allow for same-sex marriages.

This prompted a listener, Ray McIntyre, to complain to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

According to the BAI, Mr McIntyre, “…states that there are also those who take a different view, emphasising the importance of marriage as a social institution designed to provide children with a mother and a father. The complainant states that it is not Newstalk’s role as a broadcaster, to act as a cheerleader for one side or the other in a matter of current public debate. He believes that this kind of conduct, if continued, threatens to make next year’s referendum a farce of epic proportions.”

The BAI upheld Mr McIntyre’s complaint in part, specifically concluding that, ‘It was the opinion of the Committee that the statement by one of the presenters that he would vote in favour of any forthcoming referendum on marriage equality and his stated impatience with not being able to vote immediately constitutes the statement of a partisan position by a news and current affairs presenter on a matter of current public debate, contrary to Rule 4.22 of the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs.’

Rule 4.22 is as follows…

“It is an important part of the role of a presenter of a current affairs programme to ensure that the audience has access to a wide variety of views on the subject of the programme or item; to facilitate the expression of contributors’ opinions – sometimes by forceful questioning; and to reflect the views of those who cannot, or choose not to, participate in content. This being so, a presenter and/or a reporter on a current affairs programme shall
not express his or her own views on matters that are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate such that a partisan position is advocated.”

Further to this, Senator Katherine Zappone writes:

“The decision of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is concerning for a number of reasons, not least the imposition of election campaign rules at a time when there is no campaign. As it stands no referendum has been called, a referendum commission has not been established and no date has been set.

Secondly the decision came on the day when an authority member was in the national newspapers saying that a quorum could not be met for meetings of the BAI as the Government has failed to make appointments.

This raises serious governance issues which must be clarified, we need to establish who is calling the shots at the BAI and is behind these rulings.

Requiring balance on every issue on the airwaves is simply unworkable – for example must a discussion on racism now require input from racists or must a discussion on murder and violent crimes require someone speaking up for thugs?

Open debate and commentary on the issues of the day has always been a hallmark of Irish democracy, the stifling of views is something we normally associate in closed countries where there is no free press.

I will be raising this issue in the Seanad and support the efforts of media organisations and journalists in seeking further information on how the BAI is interpreting current broadcast legislation.”

Newstalk presenter Chris Donoghue criticises BAI decision as “daft and depressing” (Newstalk)

Broadcasting Complaint Decisions (BAI)

Katherine Zappone (Facebook)

Previously: The Loony Mooney Ruling

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.24.18

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has announced that he will carry out an investigation into how complaints are handled by public hospitals in Ireland and he has asked YOU to help, saying:

“Despite the high number of interactions with our hospitals, relatively few people complain when they are unhappy with the service they receive. Compared with other jurisdictions, complaints to the HSE and to my Office are very low. I want to find out why this is. I want to ensure that people have access to an efficient and effective complaint handling service and to be confident that where poor practice is found, the health service is learning from its mistakes and preventing recurrence.”

Complaints can be made through the Ombudsman’s website here; by emailing hsecomplaints@ombudsman.gov.ie; phoning 1890 22 30 30; or writing FREEPOST to Ombudsman, 18 Lr Leeson Street, Freepost F5069, Dublin 2

Ombudsman to investigate how public hospitals handle complaints

Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Poolbeg (1) (The proposed Poolbeg incinerator by Covanta)

Last month it emerged that Dublin City Council, which has paid more than €30 million to consultancy firm RPS for its services over the last ten years in relation to the proposed Poolbeg incinerator, was planning to terminate its contract with RPS.

It came after the intervention of the European Commission, which found that the contract did not conform with EU law, following complaints made to the EU by Sandymount residents Joe McCarthy and Valerie Jennings.

Dublin City Council’s contract with RPS was originally estimated at €8.3m but ended up costing around €30m.

The EU is still investigating the residents’ other complaints which are: The contract for the incinerator was awarded to a company which did not bid, and the contract for the incinerator was almost double the size advertised.

Last night [Monday], at the Dublin City Council meeting, Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan said the contract with RPS will be terminated by January 31.

He also said the Poolbeg incinerator may be scrapped, even if it emerges successfully from the rest of the EU investigation.

The State has spent up to €90million on the Poolbeg incinerator project to date, but there has been no construction on the site.

Meanwhile, in a topical twist…

RPS advised Dublin City Council on Poolbeg while head of Irish Water John Tierney was Dublin City Council manager and two former RPS executives are now employed by Irish Water.

They are Irish Water’s head of asset management Jerry Grant and Elizabeth Arnett, who is now head of communications and corporate services in Irish Water.

Last week Mr Tierney said the two former RPS executives were hired following an ‘open recruitment’ process.

Mr Tierney will go before the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht today at 2.15pm, to answer questions about the €50million Irish Water has spent on consultants.

Poolbeg contract may be abandoned (RTÉ)

Previously: The Insiders

The Contract Did Not Confirm With EU Law

Covanta And Dublin City Council: What’s That Funny Smell?

No, Seriously, Why Did A New Jersey-Based Waste Company Employ Phil Hogan’s Golf Buddy?

On foot of the Food Safety Authority’s See Something, Say Something campaign, launched last year, this just in:

In total, there were 966 complaints about unfit food, 497 complaints about suspected food poisoning, 446 about hygiene standards, 137 about incorrect information on food labels, 37 about incorrect advertising and 332 other complaints.

The authority said contamination with foreign objects was “frequently” reported by consumers last year.
“In 2011, these reports included food contaminated with live and dead insects; a tooth; a false nail; pieces of metal; plastic rubber tubing; and a plaster,” the authority said.

Specific incidents included a report of a small dead rodent in a bag of bananas, and a bolt “complete with nut and washer” in meatballs.

Consumers also reported concerns about food being sold past its ‘best-before’ date, where no information was displayed at the point of sale.

Food Complaints Include ‘Dead Rodent’ (Irish Times)