Tag Archives: RTE

Cork/Galway All-Ireland fan shenanigans.

Croke Park, September 7, 1986.

Can you spot Frilly?

Via KillianM2.

A wonderful, constantly-updated bumper Irish telly archive (not only sport) on YouTube.

From top: a certificate of character signed by An Garda Síochána for George Gibney’s US visa application in 1992; former Irish swimming coach George Gibney; journalist Irvin Muchnick (right)

This morning.

American sportswriter and journalist Irvin Muchnick spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One about former Irish swimming coach George Gibney.

Mr Muchnik is visiting Ireland this week as he launches the second eBook edition of his book about Gibney.

Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in Ireland in April, 1993.

However, he moved to the United States in 1995, the year after an unusual and controversial decision by the Supreme Court led to the quashing of these charges.

He was also granted a visa during a visit to the United States in 1992 – seemingly aided by a Garda character reference – a year after people who had been abused by him started to speak up and organise themselves.

Justice Roderick Murphy’s later Government-commissioned report into sex abuse and Irish swimming in 1998 concluded that Gibney’s accusers “were vindicated” by the accumulation of Garda evidence.

These accusers included a woman who alleged she was indecently assaulted by Gibney on a swimming trip to Holland in 1990 and, the following year, raped by him in Florida in June 1991.

From this morning’s interview…

Sean O’Rourke: “I gather that you believe that this year, 2019, might signal some changes in this case. Tell me why.”

Irvin Muchnick: “Well, the reason is that widespread scandals in the Olympic sport programmes in the United States have come to light through the USA Gymnastics scandal and there are federal investigations of racketeering and insurance fraud involving USA Swimming , USA Taekwando and other groups and those are the real reasons why 2019 I think is going to be the year of reckoning for George Gibney.”

“We’ve learned from a Freedom of Information Act case that Gibney unsuccessfully applied for American citizenship in 2010, I believe, hoping to inoculate himself from these ongoing serial efforts to get him extradited and brought back for justice in Ireland.

“And in a quirk, he was denied citizenship because he lied on his application about his Irish past but, strangely, nothing happened in terms of his Green Card and his permanent resident/alien status in the United States.

“So, what my new reporting has uncovered is that there’s not just paperwork issues with George Gibney but perhaps other acts he committed while he was in America.

“He was the leader of a church group, medical mission, to Peru that involved a strange Catholic sect called the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and those are some of the things that are coming to the fore for federal investigators right now.”

O’Rourke: “Coming back, you say he tried in 2010 to get American citizenship but he was declined it or denied it on the basis that he had filed false information?”

Muchnick: “Right. What the Freedom of Information case documents revealed is that US Citizenship and Immigration Services kicked his application back to him and said ‘you want to give this another go?’ because you have to disclose not just whether you have ever been convicted of a crime but whether you’ve ever been arrested, charged, indicted.

“And evidently he didn’t comply because his citizenship application was denied.

“But the weird Catch-22 is that, at the same time, another federal agency in the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement put out a letter that said he could not be removed from the country because he had never been convicted.

“So this is the conundrum that we face this year.”

O’Rourke: “And how is he getting on, living in the United States? I mean you and other people have shone a lot of light on his background here in Ireland and on the questions that have been asked. So how has he been doing? He’s there now over quarter of a century?”

Muchnick: “Right it’s a front-page story in Ireland, it’s kind of crickets in major media. I have a small outlet trying to shine light on this and he’s basically hiding in plain sight. He coached briefly, we think, because of a recommendation from the American Swimming Coaches Association – which should be accountable, as should be USA Swimming.

“But after his Irish past was exposed locally, in Colorado, in 1995, he backed away from his swimming career but he’s had various jobs. He’s now living in Altamonte Springs, Florida, we believe, just north of Orlando.

“And I call it hiding in plain sight.”

O’Rourke: “But is there any reason to believe, I mean, you say, you talk about this background of scandals in gymnastics and taekwondo and US Olympic circles, but why should that, or how might that be brought to bear and turn up the heat on George Gibney?”

Muchnick: “Well the reason is that there are federal investigations looking into all these things. I think the FBI and other federal agencies are a little bit embarrassed that they were asleep at the switch on the gymnastics scandal. So they’re looking to, to make good on that, and clean up the Olympic programmes in some way.

“So I think, paradoxically, by not having this intense focus just on Gibney, he’s marginally out there and I do know that investigators have been reading my reporting and have determined to act on it.”

O’Rourke: “And is there a sense that what he might face would be deportation or would it be extradition?”

Muchnick: “Well it would be extradition. It’s kind of thing where the Americans are saying ‘after you, first’. And the Irish are saying ‘we want you to do something’. The Garda and American law enforcement have to start talking to each other under EU protocols and share information.

“We know that Gibney had one known crime on American soil in 1991 in Tampa, Florida, and so that could be a basis for…”

O’Rourke: “Is that a conviction now?”

Muchnick: “No, it’s not.”

O’Rourke: “Strictly speaking, you cannot say someone has a known crime unless they’re convicted of it.”

Muchnick: “That’s correct and that’s always been the difficulty at getting at this. But my understanding is that in Ireland there’s been a revisiting of that controversial 1994 Supreme Court ruling that effectively quashed his indictment and that could be looked at again. There could be new victims…”

O’Rourke: “There could be new victims coming forward or new claims that will have to be investigated.

“Do you know, as of now, whether there is a request for George Gibney, submitted to the US authorities by the gardai here or by the Director of Public Prosecutions, for his extradition to this country?”

Muchnick: “I think we know pretty clearly there is not one as yet. However, in 2015, TD Maureen O’Sullivan did ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to look at this again. And I understand that that matter is ongoing.”

O’Rourke: “I know that every time this case is discussed, it causes distress to the victims. They must feel disheartened that it drags on. I think some of them have found a way of just putting it behind them in so far as is possible. And accepting that they’re not going to see justice. But, you know, with no apparent resolution, I’m wondering why you continue to pursue it, Irv. Do you actually think you’re getting somewhere?”

Muchnick: “I do and I’ll tell you why in a moment. But I am looking forward to meeting a victim while I’m on my Dublin visit tomorrow. I do understand the pain that they’ve endured for many years and I do understand that many of them are ambivalent at this point, having had their hopes dashed so many times in the past, as to whether this is even good for them to do this.

“But my message to the Irish is that this is not just about the victims, this is about a system of institutions in global sport that enable bad actors, like George Gibney, to do what they do. And so it’s so important to hold accountable Swim Ireland, USA Swimming, most especially the American Swimming Coaches Association and so I hope that we can work together on that, moving forward to clean up sports.”

O’Rourke: “And what about the current climate in which, for instance, you have President Trump speaking out strongly against, I suppose what he would describe, generally, as undesirables. I mean might that somehow contribute to increasing the pressure on George Gibney?”

Muchnick: “That’s a great point and a great question and I think that it’s the real reason there’s hope right now. That even though Donald Trump has weaponised the immigration question and he’s demonised Central Americans and Muslims, not so much white Europeans, there’s still a movement there is some indication that bad guys from Ireland have been sent back, other than George Gibney.”

O’Rourke: “But do you know, or do you know of particular individuals in the United States’ system of immigration and law enforcement, whatever you want to call it, who are on this case?”

Muchnick: “Yes. I know that there are federal agents who are involved in these swimming investigations who are taking a specific look at George Gibney right now.”

O’Rourke: “OK, well no doubt you and we will continue to keep an eye on this situation and bring any developments to our audience. Journalist, investigative journalist, Irvin Muchnick, thank you very much for coming in.”

Muchnick: “Thank you for having me.”

Listen back in full here.

Previously: ‘There Is No Excuse’

Unreasonable Delay

Minister for Health Simon Harris; Quest Diagnostics

Last night.

It emerged that approximately 800 women who had CervicalCheck tests carried out between October 1, 2018, and June 25, 2019, have not received their test results because of an IT issue at a Quest Diagnostics laboratory in Virginia in the US.

It followed one woman affected making inquiries about her own test results.

Most of the women affected were getting repeat tests for the human papillomavirus HPV – which can cause cervical cancer – because Quest had previously carried out HPV testing on the women’s initial smears beyond the 30-day limit.

RTÉ have reported that the HSE told the Department of Health on Wednesday that it became aware of the IT problem in June.

This morning, Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly told Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ’s Radio One:

We need to understand why the HSE took so long to inform the department. We know last year, when CervicalCheck [scandal] broke, that actually the Department and the HSE had been going back and forth and it was in reference to preparing the minister for the fact that Vicky Phelan’s case was about to break and that that could lead on to knock-on implications as of course it did.

We want to know why the department wasn’t informed. And, indeed, maybe they were informed but they were informed informally.”

“…Why wait until an hour after the Dáil goes into recess to let the information out publicly. Why, if it’s not a big deal, were the minister, or the HSE, a no-show on Morning Ireland this morning?

If this is not a big problem then we need to hear from the political leadership and the administrative leadership to explain that.”

Mr O’Rourke told his listeners that his programme also asked both the minister and the HSE for a spokesperson but neither were available.

Listen back in full here

800 women did not receive CervicalCheck results after IT issue at US laboratory (RTE)


Clockwise from top left: Graham Norton, Ryan Tubridy, John Humphreys and Seán O’Rourke

‘eoin’ writes

In the UK (population 65m, 13x Ireland), the BBC publishes the list of staff paid £150,000+ (€168,000) a year in the year to April 2019 (that is, for a period which ended three months ago)….

John Humphrys, a titan of broadcasting whose daily 3-hour radio show gets around 5m listeners is paid £290,000 (€325,000)

In Ireland, Sean O’Rourke was paid €308,964 by loss-making RTE in the year to December 2016.

Meanwhile, Graham Norton only gets £610,000 while the mediocrity on the loss-making RTE Late Late Show gets €495,000 (excluding royalties on his book which exploits the Toy Show “jumper” thing)?

Also if the BBC can publish presenter salaries within 3 months of the year end, why does it take loss-making RTE 22 months?

Here’s the full list of BBC on-air stars earning over £150,000

BBC pay: Claudia Winkleman, Zoe Ball and Vanessa Feltz among top earners (BBC)

Related: Vanessa Foran: Reeling In The Year

Robert Shortt

This morning.

Host of the next CRASH.

Via RTÉ:

RTÉ News is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Shortt as its new Economics Correspondent [replacing Sean Whelan who becomes  the station’s London Correspondent] Robert has been a reporter with RTÉ Prime Time for the last ten years.

He will be responsible for reporting and providing analysis of economic issues across RTÉ News’ television, radio and digital platforms.

Mr Shortt said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to be offered the chance to report on the economy at this critical juncture. Brexit, the challenge of combating climate change and the housing crisis are all issues forcing change and big economic dilemmas. I can’t wait to get started.”


Earlier: Everyone’s A Critic

Pic: RTÉ

The launch of RTÉ’s Autumn/Winter 2018/2019 schedule last Summer.

This afternoon.

RTÉ ‘s annual report has revealed a net deficit of €13m in 2018.

The media organisation said although there had been a modest increase in total revenue, and a reduction in operating costs, the cost of special events – including the Papal Visit, the Presidential Election and coverage of the FIFA World Cup – contributed to the overall deficit.

Director General Dee Forbes said RTÉ could do a lot to help itself, but it needed action from Government and that had not come in to play, and that the licence fee system was no longer fit for purpose.

Ms Forbes added that RTÉ cannot continue in deficit because it will not have the cash to facilitate those deficits.

RTÉ reports net deficit of €13m for 2018 (RTÉ)


Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, from its proposal to regulate social media across Europe; solicitor Simon McGarr


Samantha McCaughren, in the Sunday Independent, reported that the Government is considering proposals from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland that it be given the power to regulate content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in Ireland and across Europe.

Solicitor and director at Data Compliance Europe Simon McGarr spoke to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland about the proposal this morning and said he didn’t think BAI should be given those powers.

He said:

“I think that the proposal that they’ve [BAI] made today, and they’re publishing later this morning, is basically 98 pages intended to make that argument that they are [right group for the job] but demonstrating throughout exactly why they should not be the body to do that.”

“I think perhaps the best example would be to think of whether or not we thought that the 1950 Censorship Board of Ireland would be the correct body to be put in charge of a modern censorship organisation or a classification organisation.

“The argument that would be made is: ‘well, we have the most experience censoring things and therefore we should be put in charge of all these other censoring activities’.

“It’s precisely because of its institutional history, not because of the people on the board but because of the legislation that was created by the Broadcasting Act of 2009.

“While the institution of the BAI doesn’t have the right instincts, institutional instincts and experience for regulating a completely different form of communication because what has happened here in this body’s proposal is that they have taken the concept of regulating broadcast and applied it in certain areas to regulating areas between individuals.

“So we are now looking at a proposal for example in this, that they would be able to take down private messages, including encrypted messages, sent by things such as WhatsApp or IM message between individuals and they’d be able to censor those messages.”

He added:

“For example, we don’t open all the envelopes in An Post to check whether or not we think that the content is acceptable and deliver on the basis of somebody censoring that information.”

The interview can be listened to in full in the Soundcloud link above or here

Mr McGarr has also written a blog post about the matter here

Why the BAI is not the body to regulate the internet (Simon McGarr, Tuppenceworth.ie)

An Garda Síochána; Garda cars for Pride this weekend


On RTÉ’s Liveline.

A gay former Garda, going by the name of Matthew, told presenter Joe Duffy that he was dismissed from the guards in the 1980s without any explanation.

He said, in 1982, after the murder of RTE worker Charles Self, whom he knew, he was told to go to Dublin Castle and present himself to a superintendent.

There, Matthew was told that he was being investigated for conduct “which would bring discredit on the force”.

Matthew, who was 22 at the time, then had to give a statement and his fingerprints were taken. He was also asked if he knew Charles Self, who was also gay.

Matthew said he himself wasn’t ask if he was gay.

He said he was subsequently interviewed in Pearse Street Garda Station and fingerprinted again.

He said in June 1982 – two days before he was due to be attested – a sergeant and an inspector arrived at the parade room where Matthew was with his colleagues and he was ordered out of the room.

He recalled:

“My colleagues were shocked.

“I was given ten minutes to strip and get out of the station. No reason, nothing.

“I left the station, my sergeant directed me, well, he advised me – he said ‘don’t leave, stay where you are, come in and parade for duty tomorrow night, I’ll fight this’.

“But I hadn’t….I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I came home and the following day or the day after, the local gardai came down to remove any further items of Garda property – you would have had another uniform, you’d have a winter uniform, you’d have a grey coat, baton, notebook, torches, things like that.

“And they came down, they removed all the items. And, I just, my life, really the following ten years, spiralled downwards.

“I started to get myself together after five years and I wrote to the Garda Commissioner asking to be reinstated and I got a letter back to say they weren’t going to reverse their decision at this stage.”

Matthew said he has never received an explanation for this dismissal.

He added that he sought a copy of his personal file from Garda HQ in 2000/2001 but his request was declined.

He was told he could view his file, while being supervised, at Garda HQ but he declined the invited.

He then wrote again to the human resources department of An Garda Síochána in 2014. He also wrote to GSOC.

Eventually he got a redacted personal file in August 2014 – with the unredacted sections showing he was an exemplary guard.

He said he’s written to the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan but has been “stonewalled”.

He said:

“I look on Twitter and I see the Pride march next Saturday, they’re going to have two cars bedecked with the Pride flag and I mean, it’s only 36 years ago, 35 years ago, I was treated like a pariah.”

He added:

“This is one thing I need closure on. Why? Why?”

“…and the charade of having the two cars in the Pride parade. It’s a charade, it’s window-dressing.”

Matthew told Mr Duffy he’s seeking to obtain his full file unredacted; he wants a reason for his sacking; and he wants an apology.

Listen back in full here

Oliver Callan: Don’t throw baby Jesus out with bath water (The Irish Times, June 8, 2019)

Journalist Conor Kane

Following on from RTÉ’s former South East Correspondent Damien Tiernan quitting his role in February after 23 years, due to an apparent “frustration at not being able to get stories on air”

RTÉ announces:

RTÉ News is pleased to announce the appointment of Conor Kane, as South East Correspondent.

Currently a freelance journalist in the south east region, Conor has reported on news and sport for national and local media, including RTÉ, over the last number of years.

He has previously worked as South East Correspondent for the Irish Independent and a senior news reporter for The Irish Examiner. Prior to this he worked with The Roscommon Herald, Wicklow People and People Group Newspapers (Wexford), and The Nationalist in Clonmel.

He is a journalism graduate from DIT with over 25 years media experience and has a wide range of contacts across the region.

Conor is a native of Fethard in Co Tipperary and lives in Clonmel.

Previously: ‘Disgusted And Disappointed But Not Surprised’

Related: Tiernan: slashing of regional coverage was why I left RTÉ (Colette Sexton, Sunday Business Post, February 3, 2019)

Pic: RTE