Tag Archives: RTE

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

Vicky Phelan

In today’s Irish Times,  Health Correspondent Paul Cullen has an interview with Limerick mother-of-two Vicky Phelan – one year on from her High Court case where she settled a case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, for €2.5million.

Ms Phelan, who refused to sign a gagging order about her case, was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a cervical smear test error.

Following her case, it later emerged that more than 200 women diagnosed with cancer were not informed of an audit which revised their earlier, negative smear tests.

Mr Cullen reports:

“…Ms Phelan said the Taoiseach ‘just doesn’t get it’ in relation to fixing the problems that have arisen.

‘The classic example is him going on Six One News saying no woman would ever have to go into court, and look what’s happened. That’s still the case and not only that, the tribunal has not yet been established in order for that not to happen.

I don’t think he gets it at all. And it’s not just because he’s a gay man, I just don’t think he gets it.’

…’I think we got a lot of promises made at the time, not to shut us up but to “give them what they want quickly and get them off the pages”.

‘Until we have a situation in this country where people are held accountable for what they’ve done, these things are just going to keep happening and there’ll be another scandal,’ she said.”

Meanwhile, during an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Phelan apologised for and clarified her ‘gay man’ comment (above).

She said:

“I’m critical of the Government in general. I suppose, I think some of what I said was taken out of context and I would like to apologise to the Taoiseach for the comment in today’s article.

“What I said, I was trying to make the point that the issues faced by the women and their families are wide-ranging, they involve input from a wide range of players, from the Department of Health to the HSE, legal profession, the medical profession, and the Attorney General’s office to draft up this legislation.

“And basically any unwillingness or inertia on the part of one player can hold everything up and that is exactly what has happened over the last 12 months.”

Asked specifically what she was trying to say when she made the “gay man” comment, Vicky said:

“This is a women’s issue and it’s always about women, that was the point I was making. It wasn’t anything to do with the Taoiseach being gay, whatsoever. That was totally taken out of context.”

“We’ve seen it on a number of occasions over the last number of years, Miriam, between the different scandals that have happened to women. Bridget McCole, the Hepatitis C scandal…I think we have a very poor record and poor history in this country in dealing with women’s issues.”

Vicky Phelan criticises Varadkar for ‘unacceptable delays’ (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Listen back to interview in full here


Garda Commissioner Drew Harris addressing the conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors in Cavan yesterday

This morning.

RTÉ’s Morning Ireland broadcast an interview its crime correspondent Paul Reynolds carried out with the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the AGSI conference in Cavan.

It followed Mr Reynolds reporting that one of An Garda Síochána’s members is being investigated by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations for allegedly engaging in “outside security work”, which is not permitted.

Mr Reynolds previously reported that false alarms were allegedly set off at a business and these were responded to by gardaí, in patrol cars, and these false alarms were then reported on the Garda PULSE system.

Mr Harris said he couldn’t speak of the specifics of the case as the matter is being investigated.

Mr Reynolds put it to Mr Harris:

“But you are known and have taken a very strong stand on discipline. I mean, and there has been criticisms of your stance at this conference [AGSI] of the fact that even though allegations have been levelled against individuals, that have not been proven, you have prevented people from being promoted.”

Mr Harris said each case is examined on its merits and he’s examined a number of cases and people have been promoted.

He said others have been delayed until he has received more facts.

Meanwhile, separately…


Listen back in full here

Yesterday: Malingering Odours

Previously: “False Alarms”

Thus afternoon.

Further to An Coimisinéir Teanga’s [Language Commissioner’s] Annual Report which finds that RTÉ is failing to provide a comprehensive range of television programming in Irish.

In 2017, over RTÉ’s two television channels, over 18,657 hours of content were broadcasted. Only 123 hours, or 0.7% of this content was in Irish.

Emma Ní Chearúil, of irish-language activists Conradh Na Gailge, writes;

Conradh na Gaeilge will meet with Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes next week. We will commend their provision of the Irish language to date – on Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ 2FM and their multimedia platforms, for example, but we will focus primarily on the questions raised in the Language Commissioners’ Annual Report and the following recommendations.

1. A Plan for the Provision of Irish Language Programming to be developed immediately

2. To build on the previous developments such as optional Irish language commentary for sports events, which could be provided for all national rugbaí games, international soccer matches and all GAA programming on RTÉ

3. A channel such as RTÉ Jr to be provided in Irish, which would be an excellent support for parents who are raising children with Irish, and an additional resources in supporting Irish in the education system.


Conradh Na Gaeilge

‘Seriously deficient’ – RTÉ criticised over 1pc Irish language content (Independent.ie)

From top: Marian Finucane, John Delaney; From left: Demot Ahern, Conor Brophy, Brigid Laffan, Elaine Loughlin, Eddie Molloy; Marian Finucane


On RTÉ Radio One’s Marian Finucane show.

Ms Finucane and the show’s newspaper panel discussed the recent matters concerning the Football Association of Ireland that have unfolded since Mark Tighe, in The Sunday Times, reported two weeks ago that the ex-CEO of the FAI John Delaney gave the FAI a €100,000 loan in 2017.

The item on the FAI where Ms Finucane, as she had on the previous week’s show, defended Mr Delaney’s tenure at the FAI (see below) was wrapped up before the show took a break.

Then, after commercials, Ms Finucane told her listeners:

“Now, before we move on, I think I should declare an interest because about ten years ago, when we were qualifying for the World Cup, a charity I’m involved in was nominated as the FAI charity for that trip because our charity works in South Africa.”

But, unfortunately, Thierry Henry did the dickens on us and it never happened.”

Ms Finucane was referring to French player Thierry Henry’s handball during the Ireland V France World Cup qualifying game in November 2009.

Ms Finucane didn’t name the charity but it’s understood she was referring to the charity she and her husband founded Friends In Ireland which aims to help orphaned children affected by HIV and AIDS in South Africa.

However, despite Ireland not playing in the World Cup in South Africa in June 2010, the FAI still announced Friends in Ireland as its “official charity” six days after the World Cup kicked off.

In the same announcement, the FAI said Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger had become the charity’s ambassador at the time.

In a press release date June 17, 2010, the FAI said.

As the official charity of the FAI, Friends in Ireland will have bucket collections outside the Aviva stadium on match day and will also avail of a number of other promotional and fundraising activities inside Aviva stadium and at Airtricity League games.”

In the same press release, Ms Finucane was quoted as saying:

“We are honoured and delighted with this partnership with the FAI. We are hoping that all footballers, young and old, and their supporters, will help us to help these wonderful children who find themselves in such tragic circumstances.

“The FAI staff, Sean St. Ledger, Giovanni Trapattoni and John Delaney have been inordinately helpful to Friends in Ireland in developing this partnership.

“While we didn’t get to play football there, the footballing world can nonetheless play a hugely important role in South Africa!

On Ms Finucane’s newspaper panel yesterday were Director of the Global Governance Programme of the European University Institute Brigid Laffan; former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern; political correspondent at The Irish Examiner, Elaine Loughlin; management consultant, Eddie Molloy; and former RTE journalist and now director of strategic communications at Teneo Dublin, Conor Brophy.

As mentioned above, their discussion followed the extensive media coverage about the FAI over the past two weeks since Mr Tighe’s story on the €100,000 loan.

This was a matter Mr Delaney tried to prevent from being reported upon, by going to the High Court seeking an injunction, but failed with Judge Anthony Barr saying: “…the finances of the FAI and any payment and repayment to its chief executive are matters of significant public interest.”

Since Mr Tighe’s story about the loan, Mr Delaney stepped down as CEO, after 14 years, to become executive vice-president of the FAI, while The Sunday Times, last week, reported that the FAI, for several years, paid €3,000 a month in rent for Mr Delaney who, at the time, was earning €360,000.

Yesterday, Mr Tighe wrote an in-depth analysis piece on the FAI’s finances and debt.

Ms Finucane opened the segment by asking Mr Molloy for this thoughts on the recent coverage, telling Mr Molloy “there’s nothing wrong, is there, with lending a company €100,000”.

Mr Molloy said the fact that the transaction by Mr Delaney – who is also on the executive committee of UEFA – wasn’t mentioned in the association’s financial reports “raises questions” and added the fact the CEO was even lending money to the FAI was “bizarre”.

He added:

“I looked at the website yesterday and it’s up to date. But what it says is: John Delaney took up the role of executive vice-president, following his tenure as chief executive. That is done on a Saturday night, the day before it was published in The Sunday Times.

“Now if you read that very carefully, he took up the role of executive vice-president, there wasn’t a role of executive vice-president but he took up the role. Secondly, there already is a vice president.

“Now his role is executive vice president which gives you real decision-making powers. It’s not an honorary vice-president thing, following his tenure as chief executive.

“So this sounds like part of a seamless, planned, state-of-the-art transition from one role to another and it’s all wrong, ok, that’s what I would say.”

Mr Molloy added that half the board members have been on the FAI board for 14 years or more and said he felt “uneasy” that board and committee members were being referred to as “part of the football family”.

Sounding perplexed, Ms Finucane asked why that made him felt uneasy.

Mr Molloy asked her to imagine if all the members of RTÉ’s board were referred to as “family”.

“It’s too tight,” he said, before saying independence is very important when it comes to boards and their members.

Sounding even more perplexed, Ms Finucane said: “But how do you know that this board doesn’t do that? We don’t know that.”

Ms Finucane later said: “I’m surprised that you all resent this word ‘family’.”

Mr Molloy asked Ms Finucane to consider what the board has sanctioned or “stood over” – namely the €100,000 loan and Mr Delaney’s transition from CEO to a €110,000 role that didn’t exist previously.

Ms Finucane replied: “Well, what does it tell you? Except that they’re responding and reacting to a matter that became one of great public interest, concern, etc. I mean they had to do something did they not?”

She continued: “I mean if you take his role with UEFA, I presume it’s very good… that it’s very good to have one of your people on UEFA. But you can’t get that role within UEFA if you don’t have a serious role with your own organisation at home, say, in this instance, the FAI. That’s my understanding of it.”

Mr Molloy said Mr Delaney was voted to his position on the executive committee of UEFA in 2017.

He then added: “What has that got to do with what was played out over the last fortnight? It’s got nothing to do with it.”

Ms Finucane went on to quote an interview given by football pundit and journalist Eamon Dunphy who said that Mr Delaney had done, in her words, “wonderful things” at club level across the country and that he’s “very respected and liked for that”.

She also said of Mr Delaney’s injunction attempt: “Everybody is leaping on the thing about going to the court, every one of us has the right to go to a court at any stage that we want to, on any grounds.”

Former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, who said he got into politics because of his involvement in soccer in his early 20s, recalled his dealings with the FAI when he was the Minister for Communications.

At the time, the FAI wanted to sell Ireland’s matches’  exclusive rights to Sky.

Mr Ahern said he had a “huge battle” with the FAI who argued, unsuccessfully, that by doing the deal with Sky, it would create millions for the FAI and that this would, ultimately, trickle down to and help Ireland produce better players.

The former minister said he successfully argued, at the time, that only 250,000 households had Sky subscriptions and young people across Ireland wouldn’t get to see, let alone be inspired, by the matches.

Mr Ahern went on to say he shared Mr Molloy’s concerns about governance at the FAI.

Towards the end of the segment, Ms Finucane had the following exchange with journalist Elaine Loughlin when Ms Loughlin attempted to speak about Mr Tighe’s analysis piece on FAI’s debt.

Loughlin:The Sunday Times has really been to the fore on this in uncovering what is going on in the FAI. And Mark Tighe has a great piece of analysis today and I think it shows a tale of two FAIs. You’ve one FAI where you have millions of debt – a lot of it going back to the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium and there’s still massive issues of millions, of millions of debt that the FAI is still trying to pay back. And then – ”

Finucane: “Well, I mean, you’ve got to be fair here. It coincided with the crash.”

Loughlin: “It did, but – ”

Finucane: “And there were to be tickets sold that, to look at them, they look like eye-watering prices. But, at that time, people were spending that kind of money. And they had hoped to pay their debt and then the world fell apart. You know, I mean.”

Loughlin: “Yes, but Marian, the world – ”

Finucane: “You can’t blame them for Lehman’s.”

Loughlin: “The world fell apart but, as we’ve seen, in multiple articles now, John Delaney still continued to use the FAI credit card to buy rounds of drinks for supporters, no wonder he’s so popular, as Dermot outlined earlier on.

He was still getting his rent paid, he was still on a massive salary.”

“….it did seem like there was a facade that everything was rosy in the garden of the FAI while they still had these massive debts. So they were acting as if everything was ok.”

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport will question members of Sport Ireland about funding it has granted to the FAI “and related matters” on Wednesday, at 2.30pm.

Mr Delaney and other senior members of the FAI will go before the same committee on April 10.

FAI announce Friends in Ireland as Official Charity (FAI, June 17, 2010)

Listen back in full here

From top: National Chairperson of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Fatin Al Tamimi; IPSC’s National Organiser Aisling Micklethwaite and IPSC’s press officer Betty Purcell; gardaí

This afternoon.

Outside RTÉ Studios in Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

Members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and their supports, protest against Israel hosting this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and call for RTE to boycott the event.


A few moments ago…

On RTÉ One’s News at One

The head of the Irish Eurovision Delegation, RTÉ’s Michael Kealey responded to calls for a boycott and to the protest currently taking place outside RTÉ studios.

He told journalist Áine Lawlor that RTÉ is a public service broadcaster and doesn’t “take political stands”.

He said taking political stands is “not something we do”, before adding that the Eurovision is about music and not politics.

And he added: “If we introduce politics, you’ll have to look at the whole Eurovision itself.”

Listen back in full here



Protest at RTÉ calls for boycott of Eurovision song contest (RTE)

Earlier: EU May Like This

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Second last pic: Barry Lenihan

St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny

RTE Health Correspondent Fergal Bowers reports:

The Mental Health Commission has taken the first prosecution of its kind against the Health Service Executive, under the Mental Health Act.

The case involves failures at the Department of Psychiatry in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.

At Kilkenny District Court today, the HSE pleaded guilty to four charges relating to conditions at the unit.

The failures were identified during an unannounced inspection at the department between 6-9 November 2018 by the commission.

Mental Health Commission takes prosecution against HSE (RTE)