Tag Archives: rte investigates

From top Mayo County Counci, chamber and Galway County Council chamber

Staying in tonight?

RTÉ Investigates: Council Chamber Secrets.

Jilly McDonough writes:

RTÉ Investigates has spent the last six months examining how local authorities go about their business. RTÉ Investigates uncovered systemic failures, which enabled false accounting and employee fraud. Broadcast tonight, RTÉ Investigates: Council Chamber Secrets looks at how reforms promised after the tribunals of inquiry never materialised.

RTÉ Investigates examine a wide number of counties and examples include:

In Limerick

€1.8 million worth of transactions involving Limerick City and County Council and Irish Water are under Garda investigation following the dismissal of a council employee.

In Mayo

Gardaí are investigating the discovery of forged building compliance certs held by Mayo County Council in relation to its new €11 million swimming pool in Castlebar.

In Galway

RTÉ Investigates reveal how the discharge of untreated sewage from the Council-owned public toilets prompted an ethics investigation into allegations of gross misconduct.

In Cavan

The council has refused to release an internal inquiry report into the generation of false invoices citing a Garda investigation, which An Garda Siochana said it was not aware of.

RTÉ Investigates: Council Chamber Secrets tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Council chamber secrets: Misconduct, falsehoods and waste (Conn Corrigan, RTÉ)


Brian Webster with a childhood photo

Staying in tonight?

A year on from its initial documentary, RTÉ Investigates again turns the spotlight on the historic practice of illegal adoptions in Ireland, revealing how 12 months later many adoptees are still searching for answers and struggling to discover their true identities.

Via RTE Investigates:

In January 2020, TUSLA told Brian Webster who is now living in ​Co Tipperary that the people who’d raised him were not his biological parents. Brian’s birth was registered as if he had been born in May 1961 in Dublin to a Catholic couple living in New York.

At almost 60 years of age Brian learned he had in fact been born to a young Irish woman three weeks earlier than the date on his birth cert. The placement was organised by the Sisters of Charity at St Patrick’s Guild in what was an illegal adoption and happened at a time when sending babies abroad for adoption had long been outlawed.

In a statement to RTÉ Investigates last year, TUSLA said the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR prevented it from sharing what it considered to be third party information. In Brian’s case that included his birth mother’s details, leaving him in the dark about his biological family.

Following the broadcast of the documentary there was no further progress with TUSLA, but just weeks after the programme he did get some worrying news that his birth mother was in hospital.

Conscious that time for making contact was slipping away and knowing that the few documents TUSLA had shared with him had largely being redacted, Brian’s wife Eilís turned detective. Brian says:

“She actually found out who I am. She wasn’t going to let this rest, she wasn’t going to say ok I’m waiting on somebody else to find out, I’m going to help you and I’m going to try and find out. On the index card for the dioceses of where my birth mother was from, protruded from the bottom of the redacted portion looked like the back down portion of the letter G. Looking at that then we realised that there was only I think four dioceses in the country with a G in it.”

Eilís and Brian had discovered his birth mother was from the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.

But Brian’s joy at having narrowed his search was short-lived when he got another phone call from TUSLA during lockdown. He says:

It wasn’t good news, it was that my birth mother had died and it was said that the door to me meeting her is now shut, and I thought that’s an awful thing to say to someone.”

Eilís searched the local death notices and within minutes she’d found the woman they believed was Brian’s biological mother. Brian recalls:

“It was fabulous to know that’s what she looked like you know, I mightn’t get to talk to her but I now know what she looks like – I mean it’s like the birth of a child, it’s the first time you see them except it’s in reverse, you get to see your mother for the first time.

But the death notice also revealed something much more upsetting. He says:

“The worst part of reading RIP.ie was that she was buried at twelve o’clock that day. I was called two and half hours after she had been laid to rest to tell me that she was gone – she had died two days previously to that. So even the opportunity of even looking in on Zoom at her funeral that was taken away from me as well.”

A week later Brian and Eilís made the journey to visit his mother’s grave. He says:

“I lit a candle and put it on the grave but I was so conscious of other people in the graveyard that any time I heard voices or heard a car door close I scampered away from the grave, I just didn’t want to be seen, I felt like an intruder, like a criminal being there because nobody knows me, nobody knows anything about me.”

Sixteen months had passed since Brian was first told of his illegal adoption. Having been denied crucial personal information by TUSLA during that time, meant any opportunity to be reunited with his birth mother was lost. He says:

“I’m angry that the information that relates to me is being withheld from me, it’s my information, she was my mother and it’s not fair that somebody else can look at it and know who she was, somebody that’s not even related to her knows who she was and I don’t, that’s just cruel.”

Having spent his entire life as an only child, Brian’s searches online also revealed his birth mother had gone on to have more children and he had three half siblings.

“My Mam and Dad that raised me, they were fantastic people, I loved them, I’ll never ever forget them, but these people are different – these are blood relatives, these are my real family.”

In recent days, Brian has had contact with ​a half-sister for the first time, they plan to meet next week.

RTÉ Investigates: Ireland’s Illegal Adoptions – Still Searching, tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

RTÉ Investigates – The Accountant, The Con, The Lies

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

A brand-new RTÉ One documentary RTE Investigates -The Accountant, The Con, The Lies exposes a scam involving an Irish businesswoman, Catriona Carey (top), a former sports star who played hockey for Ireland and camogie for her county.

RTÉ Investigates unravels the workings of the fraud, involving lies and excuses at every turn. Using secret recordings of meetings and phone calls, RTÉ Investigates reveals the intricacy of the scheme and speaks to some of those affected who describe both the human and financial impact they have suffered.

RTÉ Investigates – The Accountant, The Con, The Lies at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Pic via RTÉ

There was a a fourfold increase in emergency calls from domestic abuse survivors in 2021

RTÉ Investigates – Domestic Abuse, A Year Of Crisis

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

The last 12 months has seen a fourfold increase in emergency calls from domestic abuse survivors. During that time RTÉ Investigates filmed in several refuges across the country as the services reached crisis point.

Having given RTÉ Investigates unprecedented access, staff describe their daily struggle to keep sufferers safe, because a shortage in refuge places means they are forced to live with their abusers. From coercive control, repeated patterns of domestic violence, femicide and the traumatic journey through the justice system, the documentary reveals the human stories behind the statistics.

Last year, the number of people that contacted the domestic violence support services increased by 40% from the previous year, in some cases as a direct result of Covid-19 restrictions.

RTÉ Investigates – Domestic Abuse, A Year Of Crisis
tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and RTE Player.

Illustration via RTE

RTÉ Investigates – A Patient’s Nightmare.

On Prime Time on RTÉ One..

…Laura Fitzgerald writes:

RTÉ Investigates reveals a series of complaints of the suspected sexual abuse of unconscious patients by one anaesthetist in an Irish hospital.

The complaints were made against Dr Aamir Zuberi, an anaesthetist working at Naas General Hospital (top) since at least 2012. Dr Zuberi is subject to investigations by An Garda Síochána, the HSE and the Irish Medical Council which are still ongoing.

RTÉ Investigates has learned the doctor also worked for several years at another Irish hospital prior to taking up employment at Naas.

And onight, RTÉ Investigates reveals that Dr Zuberi has in fact been practising in Pakistan where he is registered with the Pakistani Medical Commission

RTÉ Investigates – A Patient’s Nightmareon Prime Time on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.


This afternoon.

Dáil at The Convention Centre, Dublin.

Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Anne Rabbitte read into the record questions that she asked of her department last Thursday evening before the RTÉ Investigates programme on secret dossiers being held on autistic children and their families was broadcast.

Ms Rabbitte said there are 270 ‘dormant cases’ and currently 48 families whose cases are ‘open’. A liaison officer is going to be put in contact with those people to make them aware now that they are “impacted”, she said.

A Department of Health report conducted by a senior counsel said nothing illegal was done in compiling the information.

Ms Rabbitte added:

“I don’t know how far back it goes…Was consent from all families not sought? Why was consent from all families not sought? Perhaps that’s what the review will show.”

Why was the minister – and when I talk about the minister, I refer to myself – why was the minister not told last year that there was an issue that was being investigated by a Senior Counsel?”




Ms Rabbitte’s closing remarks in full:

“As I said earlier, I want to apologise to the families who watched the “RTÉ Investigates” programme last week for any upset that was caused, and for any questions I could not answer today. It is my ambition to get those answers and to put them into the public domain because I believe that is how we will build trust and ensure there is transparency. I will start there.

“I thank the Deputies who made contributions to the debate today. I agree that upholding the rights of the must vulnerable members of society is of the utmost importance and I am conscious of the upset that recent allegations have caused for the parents and families concerned. I firmly believe that the whistleblower has an important role in raising matters of public concern and I acknowledge the actions of many brave people in coming forward to raise their concerns.

“I stress that serious allegations have been make against the Department and a review is under way, directed by the Secretary General, which will provide the factual detail related to these matters.

“It is important, however, to emphasise that allegations of a similar nature have already been examined by the independent senior counsel, which advice I am looking to publish and be made available to all. That was the case before the revelations on RTÉ radio this morning. In the future, consideration will need to be given across all parties as to how the transparency of the whole litigation process can be improved.

I wish to read into the record the questions that I asked my Department last Thursday evening before I watched the programme. It is important to put this in context.

“I asked how many open cases there are and how many families have been impacted and will need to be contacted. The answer I have is that there are four dozen open cases. That is to differentiate between open and dormant cases. I have been told that a support liaison person will be put in contact with those families to let them know they have been impacted.

I also asked how many closed cases there are and how many families have been impacted and will need to be contacted. I have been told that, in total, there are approximately 270 cases.

I do not know how far back it goes. I asked was consent sought from all families and if it was not, why that was the case. Perhaps a review will show that consent was not sought.

“I also asked why did this particular practice of case tracking and file management start and when it started. I asked whether the Minister can be provided with a copy of the initial legal advice showing this is an acceptable management of litigation. When I asked these questions, I did not have sight of the senior counsel report that was published last November.

I also asked was other legal advice about this practice sought from other senior counsel, data protection specialists or the Office of the Attorney General over the years and, if so, what was the content of the advice. That is important. I asked how regularly the Department sought updates on these cases from the local HSE community healthcare organisations, CHOs, and who sanctioned them on each occasion.

“I asked how much of the material received came from the litigants for the child or family. That is important in terms of who presented it. I also asked was the material assessed by anyone in particular once received by the Department.

I asked why the Minister was not told last year that this was an issue that was being investigated by a senior counsel. When I talk about the Minister, I refer to myself. I also asked when the senior counsel was hired. We all know now it was this time last year.

“I further asked when the senior counsel’s report was received by the Department. I now know it was received in November 2019. I asked why the Minister was not informed that this report had been received, or the findings in it. When I asked that question, I still did not have the report and I did not receive it until Saturday.

I asked who approved the terms of reference for the SC. I also asked who approved funding for the work and how much did it cost. It cost €10,000. I further asked if I could be provided with a copy of the report of the senior counsel and I am now in receipt of it.

“I asked how many people had access to the information over the years. That is what is being sought as we speak.

“I asked how many people and who currently has access to the spreadsheet. It is my understanding – it is important for Members to know as well – that the file was not held within the disability section, it was held in the social care section. Social care also includes mental health and older persons.

“I asked what is the plan for the spreadsheet referenced going forward and if it is still being used. Yes, is the answer: it is still being used.

I asked if other concerns about this file management had been raised over the years. I am awaiting a response to that. I also asked if there are other similar file or case management protocols in place elsewhere in the Department. That was my last question up to the meeting with the Secretary General last Friday.

Before I came into the House today, I was expecting a briefing, but proceedings ran ahead. Some of the script that I read out is from the Department but a lot of the information I presented this afternoon is my own. I hope it tackles some of the issues.

“I agree with what was stated: this will be a test for us because there is a test of ethical and cultural change, a shift in mindset and transparency and in trust and engagement. That is where we need to get to. It must be a rights-based approach. It is unfortunate that legal cases continue to happen but we need to know the process.

“What is important is trust, transparency and the person at the centre. If my team and I manage to get to that space of understanding, sharing the information and ensuring a rights-based approach, it will ensure there is solid ground going forward. However, first I must sort out what the practice is and share it with Members in an open, transparent way to build the trust of the parents. The parents and the children must be at the centre of today’s debate.

“I say to anybody who watched the programme last week that the Government believes in being supportive of young people and their rights to education and health. We must ensure that we put them first, front and centre.

“We care 150% about them, but at this moment in time there are questions. There are doubts and there is a shadow, but we are going to clear that. When we clear it and I stand here and emphatically tell Members the process that happened, we then want them to continue to trust and believe in us, their physicians and in the process, because it is there to protect. That is what it was always about.

“When the Taoiseach stood here yesterday on the floor of the Dáil, he wholeheartedly spoke about the fact that he introduced special needs education and that it had not existed in the past. That just shows the low base we have come from. One has to wonder how high within the Departments we have risen, but we will question it and challenge it. I will push it and get the answers to ensure that trust and transparency are returned to the people who need it most, the most vulnerable in society.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

RTÉ Investigates: Covid19 – The Third Wave.

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

This compelling docuentary takes viewers into the heart of Tallaght University Hospital where once again frontline staff face enormous challenges, in the latest surge of Covid-19. Revealing the true picture behind the ongoing headlines and daily numbers, the compelling documentary shows doctors and nurses fighting to keep Covid patients alive in the current third wave.

Needs more bubbles.

RTÉ Investigates: Covid19 – The Third Wave at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Pic: RTÉ

Stuck in the Rough.

An RTÉ Investigates documentary following the stories of several rough sleepers on Dublin’s streets over the past three months. Including Dan Orlovs (above) who…

…has contended with more than most 20-year olds: at the age of 10, able to say little more than his name and age in English, he moved to Ireland with his mother. At 15 years of age he became homeless. Dan and his mother became estranged. For the next four years he slept on friends’ couches, before ending up living on the streets of Dublin in July 2020.

RTÉ Investigates: Stuck in the Rough, at 9.35pm on RTÉ One. 

Aftermath of the Belturbet Bomb, County Cavan, December 28, 1972

RTÉ Investigates – Belturbet: A Bomb That Time Forgot.

RTÉ Investigates writes:

In 1972, just three days after Christmas, a no-warning car bomb killed two teenagers and injured nine others in Belturbet County.Cavan. In a special documentary RTÉ Investigates uncovers a crippling lack of trust between police services north and south, questions the political will to bring those behind the Belturbet bomb to justice, and reveals new evidence that British security forces failed to act on credible information, allowing militant loyalists to operate freely in South Fermanagh.

RTÉ Investigates – Belturbet: A Bomb That Time Forgot at 9.35pm on RTÉ One

Pic: Paddy Ronaghan