Saturday 3 December 2016

RTE presenters Evanne Ni Chuilinn and Jacqui Hurley given health and safety briefing on Zika before heading to Rio Olympics

Published 05/08/2016 | 12:57

Evanne Ni Chuilinn
Evanne Ni Chuilinn

RTE presenters Evanne Ni Chuillinn and Jacqui Hurley were given a health and safety briefing before they departed Ireland to cover the Olympics Games, along with a team of up to 50 other employees, RTE has revealed.

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The team, which is led by Deputy Head of TV Sport Cliona O'Leary, received health consultations about the Zika virus before their departure for the games.

Zika infections in pregnant women can cause severe brain-related birth defects, and fertility experts advise against unprotected sex for at least two months after leaving a country where  the virus is present.

Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from the Rio Olympics over Zika fears.

“Everyone travelling to Rio for RTÉ has received the most up to date information from the International Olympic Council/ World Health Organisation/ Centre for Disease Control on the Zika virus,” the RTE spokesperson said.

“RTÉ contracted a company to carry out health consultations and administer vaccinations to the travelling party. The team also had a health and safety briefing before departure.”

Jacqui Hurley. Photo by Kyran O'Brien
Jacqui Hurley. Photo by Kyran O'Brien

“Everyone selected on the away team for Rio was offered the opportunity to pull out should s/he wish.”

The team of around 50 RTE employees travelling to Rio comprise of staff including production staff and reporters across TV, radio and online.

RTÉ sports broadcaster Jacqui Hurley admitted last month that she was apprehensive about travelling to Rio amid growing concerns over the Zika virus epidemic.

“We would like to have another baby so we read up everything on the Zika virus that we could and are comfortable with the facts,” she told the RTE Guide.

“In any case, we are planning to wait until next year for more family.

“There are also a lot of athletes who have spoken about the virus and I believe the more it is out there the better as the worst think would be people talking around corners. Being open about these things is the best.”

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