Tag Archives: RTE

RTÉ broadcaster Bryan Dobson

Just now.

Áine Lawlor told RTÉ’s News At One listeners that Bryan Dobson will interview Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar tomorrow evening at 7pm on RTÉ One.

She said it will be the first of a series of one-to-one interviews that Mr Dobson will hold with party leaders.

More as we get it.

Earlier: Buzzin’

Previously: [We] ‘Alienated A Section Of The Public Who Rightly Or Wrongly Perceived RTÉ As Biased’



RTÉ’s Claire Byrne

Next Monday night.

On RTÉ One, at 9.35pm.

Claire Byrne Live Leaders’ Debate.

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

“Next Monday night (27th January) Claire Byrne will host the biggest Election 2020 leaders debate of the campaign so far.

“For the very first time RTÉ will broadcast a special leaders’ debate live from Galway.

“The seven political parties leaders joining Claire on stage for the major two-hour live debate will be: Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Féin), Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael), Brendan Howlin (Labour), Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil), Richard Boyd Barrett (Solidarity/People Before Profit), Eamon Ryan (Green Party) and Roísín Shortall (Social Democrats).

“The leaders will also face questions from an audience of over 300 people independently selected by RED C Research polling company.”


Thanks Laura

Screenshot from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s election campaign video which he launched on Twitter; the video was subsequently deleted


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar posted a video about himself – which included RTÉ footage of himself – to launch his general election campaign.

It following his announcement that the election will take place on Saturday, February 8.

The clip also confirmed that the party’s slogan is A Future To Look Forward To.


Last night.

Cormac McQuinn, on Independent.ie, reported the video was removed from his Twitter profile because it contained RTÉ News footage without permission.

Mr McQuinn reported:

…It opened with international news broadcasters saying his name and a caption that claims he “secured a deal to protect Ireland’s interests” in the Brexit talks.

It also included RTÉ News footage featuring news reader Eileen Dunne which was posted without the broadcaster’s permission.

….A Fine Gael spokesman said the issue was as a result of a “technical oversight”.

He added: “Our production company previously attempted to contact RTE several times regarding use of this footage.

“The two second clip has been re-edited,” he added.


‘Clip has been re-edited’ – Varadkar removes election video that used RTÉ News footage without permission (Cormac McQuinn, Independent.ie)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar being interviewed in RTÉ on Sunday; *Sam, a five-year-old homeless boy who was photographed eating from a piece of cardboard in Dublin last October

This afternoon.

Further to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s interview on RTÉ’s This Week at the weekend, in which he was asked about the picture of the homeless five-year-old boy Sam (not real name) who was photographed eating from a sheet of cardboard on a street by volunteer group The Homeless Street Café…

And the Fine Gael leader replying:

“…we tried to find out who that child was, because we wanted to make sure that he was looked after, that perhaps he could be moved into a family hub or perhaps we could make sure there were no child protection issues. We still haven’t been able to find that child unfortunately…

Saoirse McGarrigle, in The Irish Mirror, reports that Denise Carroll, from the Homeless Street Cafe, has said the boy is “very easy to find”.

Further to this…

Independents 4 Change general election candidate Seánie O’Shea, from Wexford, tweetz:

Varadkar to @rtenews This Week: “…shocking, shocking photograph and one I found very upsetting. We still haven’t been able to find that child, unfortunately”

Homeless Street Cafe: “We speak to his mother and him every week.. They also have our contact details and we have hers”

Homeless Street Cafe: “The majority of the soup run would know who this family are … Claire Byrne did a piece and she was in town and he was in the film so he is very easy to find.”

Also Varadkar on his “attempts” to find the child known as Sam: “perhaps we could make sure there were no child protection issues” The children of this country need to be protected from the lies and inhumanity of this Government.

Also, where is the follow up from RTE News or David McCullagh after being blatantly misled?”

Leo Varadkar could’ve found homeless boy Sam, 5, activist insists (Saoirse McGarrigle, The Irish Mirror)

Previously: You Had Nine Years


From top: *Sam, a five-year-old homeless boy who was photographed eating from a piece of cardboard in Dublin last October; outreach worker caring for an elderly homeless woman last week; managing director of RTÉ News Jon Williams greeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at RTÉ yesterday; Mr Varadkar giving an interview on RTÉ’s This Week yesterday


RTÉ’s  David McCullagh interviewed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week.

During the interview, Mr Varadkar said he has decided on a date for the general election but didn’t disclose the date.

They went on to discuss problems in the health service and homelessness.

The Taoiseach, several times, said that problems in both sectors are driving or spurring him on to be better.

He also said that Fine Gael have only had two years to invest in public infrastructure, despite being in Government for the past nine years.

From the interview…

David McCullagh: “Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, what are you thinking now about the election?”

Leo Varadkar: “Well, first of all, good morning and good afternoon, and thanks very much for having me. As you know, it is the responsibility and the duty of the Taoiseach, or it is the prerogative rather of the Taoiseach to request dissolution of the Dáil and that’s a duty I take very seriously.

“I’ve always said that it should only happen when it’s the right time for the country and it’s been my view for a long time now that the right time would be the summer of 2020.

“But I have to acknowledge that circumstances have changed. We have a deal on Brexit. And in many ways that was the big job of this government, our magnus opus, to secure a deal on Brexit.

“We have the institutions up and running in Northern Ireland which the Tánaiste [Simon Coveney] and I have put a huge amount of work into, particularly the Tánaiste and also the arithmetic in the Dáil has changed and that’s the reality of that.

“So I have made a decision but there is some unfinished business to do which I want to get done and also there is some respect and protocol around this and I would like to speak to the Cabinet, to the views of the Opposition.

“So as things stand, the Cabinet will meet on Tuesday [tomorrow] and the Dáil will reconvene on Wednesday.”

McCullagh: “Ok, you have made the decision but you’re not going to tell us?”

Varadkar: “That’s correct.”

McCullagh: “Ok, the Dáil arithmetic, I mean there is a confidence motion down in [Health Minister] Simon Harris for February 15th, February the 5th I should say. Do you accept now that you’re not going to be in a position to win that vote?”

Varadkar: “I haven’t really run the numbers yet? We’ve…”

McCullagh: “Well I have, thankfully. You had the majority of three in the confidence vote on [Housing Minister] Eoghan Murphy. Dara Murphy’s gone, that’s down to two.”

Varadkar: “Uh-huh.”

McCullagh: “Thomas Pringle wasn’t at that vote, he presumably will be at the next vote, that’s down to one. John McGuinness now says, of Fianna Fáil, he’s going to vote against you. That’s down to an even number. And it appears from the newspapers that Noel Grealish is going to at least abstain. That means that you lose that vote unless something changes.”

Varadkar: “Yeah well there is, as you know, division within Fianna Fáil and that obviously is a factor that I’ve to take into account as well. The leader of Fianna Fáil has always said to me that they’ve honoured the confidence and supply agreement to date but it does appear that the division within their own party may make it impossible for them to do that. That’s for them to answer, not for me.”

McCullagh: “When you met Micheál Martin, did you ask him, as you did in the letter you sent him before Christmas, for members of Fianna Fáil to positively vote for the Government in a confidence motion?”

Varadkar: “You know, I didn’t actually, because  he made his views on that very clear publicly before we met so I didn’t feel the need to go through the ritual of it but…”

McCullagh: “Did you ask him for assurances about John McGuinness?”

Varadkar: “I did ask him for an assurance that he would be able to lead and deliver his own party and it seems from the news today that he wouldn’t. Or, at least, if John McGuinness is to be believed, that he wouldn’t be able to do that.”

McCullagh: “Ok.”

Varadkar: “Which is unfortunate because any Taoiseach and any party leader needs to be able to have their own party behind them.”

McCullagh: “Well, indeed. We’ll perhaps discuss that with Micheál Martin next week. But do you accept that if you lose a motion of confidence in one of your ministers, that’s the end of the Government?”

Varadkar: “Legally and constitutionally, that’s actually not the case. The motion would be in the minister and not the Government. But a Taoiseach that can’t appoint their own Cabinet, is a Taoiseach in name only.”


McCullagh: “On the trolley figures, 2019 was the worst year since figures began and the first couple of weeks of this year have been even worse. 760 on trolleys. [Former Health Minister and Progressive Democrats TD] Mary Harney declared a national emergency some years ago when it hit 500.

“And you said in September 2015, if the situation didn’t improve, heads would have to roll. Simon Harris said in January 2017 that under-performing managers would be replaced.

“Voters might form their own opinion of whose heads should roll.”

Varadkar: “I think they will form their opinion but hopefully they will give what we’ve to say some consideration. And I’m acknowledging that what we’ve done in health isn’t enough. We have made some good progress around affordability for example, cutting prescription charges for people, medical cards, for people who don’t, free GP care for kids under six.

“And people over 70, carers, those with profound disabilities, we have a plan to extend that further to all children and other groups too. And also reducing waiting times both for operations and, in fact, waiting times to see a specialist have now been falling for four months in a row.

“But, you know, what we’ve found with health is, it’s not something you can turn around quickly. It’s actually going to take years.”

McCullagh: “Well you’ve been in office for nine years.”

Varadkar: “Yeah, that is true but we haven’t had nine years to invest in health and housing and education. We’ve only had about two years to do that. And that’s because we had to get the economy fixed first. We had to get people back to work, we had to get our public finances in order.

“It’s only in the last two years that we’ve eliminated the budget deficit and I think most fair-minded people will acknowledge that. That there was a job to do first, around getting our economy back on track. We shouldn’t take that for granted. That can be undermined.

“And we can go backwards if we go back to the people who created the mess in the first place. And it’s only in the past two years that we’ve been able to invest in public infrastructure and public services and I’m determined to drive that on over the next five years, if I’m given the opportunity to do so.”

McCullagh: “Before Christmas you were asked if you were ashamed of your record on housing and you said you weren’t. Now people looking at that photo before Christmas of a homeless five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a piece of cardboard on the street, or hearing that an 81-year-old woman was found this week homeless on the streets of Dublin. They might think shame is the only reaction?”

Varadkar: “Well certainly I was very, very concerned to hear that story in the last couple of days about the 80-year-old woman. I did check into it by the way. And the facts were not as they were reported. And in fairness RTÉ has acknowledged that.

She was in her early 60s, has some mental health issues and was discharged to a social care worker with a housing plan. So I’m afraid that was one of those examples where an individual case was put about in the media that actually turned out not to be the case.

“There is a housing plan in place for her and I think that’s the most important thing, that she is being looked after.

“And I want to say to the staff in St James’s Hospital, who felt very hurt by the story, because the implication was that they had somehow allowed an 80-year-old woman out on the streets, that, that you know, that shouldn’t have happened to them, they did their job and did it well.”

McCullagh: “What about the homeless five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a piece of cardboard?

Varadkar:That was shocking, shocking photograph and one that I found very upsetting too. I remember, at the time, we tried to find out who that child was, because we wanted to make sure that he was looked after, that perhaps he could be moved into a family hub or perhaps we could make sure there were no child protection issues.

We still haven’t been able to find that child unfortunately. So, individually, that’s the situation with that particular case.

“But they are very sad stories and they’re stories that drive me on because they remind me of how much more we need to do.”

“And also the positive stories remind me as well. Bear in mind, since I’ve become Taoiseach, the number of new houses built in Ireland has trebled from about 7,000 a year to 20,000 a year…”

McCullagh: “Which is still 14,000 below what the Central Bank says we need every year.”

Varadkar: “Well I actually think we need to get to 40,000 a year, so I think we need more than the Central Bank thinks.”

McCullagh: “When can we hit that?”

Varadkar: “Well having trebled it in the past two-and-a-half years, I think I can double it in the next two-and-a-half years, if I’m given the chance to do so. We haven’t done enough on housing, we can do more. And some of that is working, by the way.

“The fact we built more houses last year than any year, for a decade, is the reason why houses prices are levelling off. And that really matters, particularly when it comes to people who want to buy their first home for the first time.

“And one thing that I always remember, and I’ll never forget it,  is the experience of turning the key in my own door, going into my own apartment,  sitting on my own couch and turning on my own TV.

“And I want home ownership to be a reality for everyone in this country. We’ve made some good progress, both with the Help to Buy scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland home loan and I want to build on that.”

McCullagh: “And yet Taoiseach, with respect, people are listening to this and they’ll know the figures. There are still 10,500 homeless people, there are still 3,752 children without that roof over their head, without that sofa, without that TV that you’re speaking of. And they’re simply saying that this government is not moving fast enough to deal with that problem.”

Varadkar: “And, you know, I share that frustration. A lot of people are frustrated at the pace of progress and I am too. And when I see those figures, and I see them every month, I’m reminded by the work we still have to do and it’s the kind of thing that spurs me on….”

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‘How did I do?’ Relaxed Taoiseach gives little away, except a broad smile (Jennifer Bray, The Irish Times)

From top: Marian Finucane on air In 1996; with the 2008 ‘Outstanding Achievement’ PPI radio Award; with husband John Clarke during a DIT Honorary Degree ceremony at The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin in 2002; at Bewley’s Cafe, Grafton Street, Dublin 2, during Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of hospice care in 2005; at the same event in 1999; attending the removal of Nuala O’Faolain at the Church of the Visitation, Fairview, Dublin in 2008; RTÉ Radio One publicity photo

This evening.

RTÉ has announced the sudden death of broadcaster Marian Finucane at the age of 69.

RTÉ reports:

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said: “We learned today of the sudden passing of Marian Finucane with profound shock and sadness.

“Marian was a broadcaster of immense capability; a household name, she was first and foremost a tenacious journalist with a zeal for breaking new ground.

“From Women Today to Liveline to her weekday radio show on Radio 1 and, latterly, her enormously popular Saturday and Sunday radio programme, she tackled the big social issues of the day with command and insight.

“Multi-skilled, she forged a distinguished career on television, as well as undertaking significant charity work in Africa. Ireland has lost a unique voice. RTÉ has lost a beloved colleague. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to her husband John and son Jack.”


Death announced of RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane (RTÉ)

RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane dies aged 69 (The Irish Times)

Pics; Rollingnews

He blinked.

This afternoon.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton at a media doorstep giving details of the establishment of a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting.

Minister Bruton said the commission will consider ‘how to best deliver and fund public service broadcasting into the future’.


following the submission by RTÉ of its revised strategy to government, the Government is to provide an additional €10m funding to broadcasting with approximately €9m going to RTÉ to implement its new plan.

The funding will come from the Department of Social Protection, in respect of free TV licences and will be provided in the 2020 revised estimates.

Govt to establish public service broadcasting commission (RTÉ)

Bruton denies caving to RTÉ demands as cash-strapped broadcaster to get €50m Iindependent.ie)

Earlier: RTE And Chill

Pics and video: Rollingnews

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes

This morning.

“I think this is fair value for 44c-a-day per-household; especially in comparison with the subscription costs to other media services; none of which offer anywhere near this level of Irish perspective or output.”

Part of RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes’ opening statement to be read out at an Oireachtas Communications Committee meeting this afternoon.

RTE boss Dee Forbes insists RTÉ amounts to ‘fair value’ compared to likes of Netflix (Independent.ie)


From top: Social Welfare office; RTÉ Montrose; Sean O’Rourke (above left) and  Paddy O’Gorman

This week.

A 100 per cent “Christmas Bonus” social welfare payment is paid to all recipients of long-term social welfare payments.

In light of this, there was an item about this payment on RTÉ Radio One Today with Seán O’Rourke with Paddy O’Gorman earlier today, during which Mr O’Gorman chatted to some people who were receiving it.

Further to this..

Frances Byrne tweetz:

It’s ‘double social welfare week’ according to Today with Seán O’Rourke and there’ll be a Paddy O’Gorman piece this morning with people receiving this annual payment.

I’ve tweeted before about these radio pieces which usually take place at welfare or post offices, or outside District Courts or prisons.

Why somebody in RTÉ thinks these reports are a good idea is completely beyond me.

Somebody, somewhere in our national broadcaster thinks that the only places you’ll find poor/working class people are when they’re collecting their welfare payment or outside a court or prison.

In the latter case, having themselves committed a crime or visiting someone who has.

Maybe they also think these pieces are the only way to include poor/working class people on the media.

That this is how a public service broadcaster ‘does’ inclusion.

I am an avid radio listener (and I believe it’s vital that Ireland has a well-supported public service broadcaster).

But I have never, ever heard a regular piece on Irish radio or television which tells us about the tax breaks received by middle class people. Why?

There are ways those of us with good incomes benefit from various breaks and very wealthy people can avail of myriad of write-offs etc.

Where’s the focus on this? Why is one group singled out while everyone else gets off the hook?

Why are poor/working class people seen as ‘other’ and therefore deserving of this level of scrutiny & only in the aforementioned places?

It’s very concerning and is part of a much wider problem across the Irish media which reinforces stereotypes about welfare, crime and taxation.

John Douglas of the Mandate trade union coined the phrase ‘Solidarity Payment’ for the so-called Christmas Bonus. He was right. That’s how all social welfare should be described.

A decent society should be proud of its publicly-funded safety net and those who need it shouldn’t be shamed.

P.S. It’s on. Paddy only met lone parents on this occasion. And is allowing himself to ask why they didn’t use contraception. And judging them for buying expensive toys for their children. My blood is now BOILING.


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