Sunday 25 September 2016

'RTE's Michaella McCollum interview left a host of questions unanswered' - Gaybo

Martin Grant and Luke Byrne

Published 06/04/2016 | 07:38

Gay Byrne. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Gay Byrne. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne believes that RTE's Michaella McCollum interview did not go far enough and left viewers with unanswered questions.

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"I thought it was a typical 'getting to know you' interview," Mr Byrne said about the item, which was broadcast last Sunday.

Mr Byrne, who has more than 50 years of broadcasting experience, said he was not familiar with the company behind the interview, Below the Radar.

"I think it would have been very easy to push her a bit harder insofar as she wasn't pushed at all.

Michaella McCollum on RTE
Michaella McCollum on RTE

"I don't know whether that was by agreement ... I don't know who the interviewer was, I never came across him before.

"There were a whole host of questions which were not even put to her," he said.

But Mr Byrne said it was "a bit of a coup" for the national broadcaster to secure the interview so soon after she was released from prison.

"I suppose RTE were claiming to be the first to break the story.

"They were claiming to be the first to have her on and I suppose that has some value and there was a curiosity in her," he said.

"I have no particular interest really. I thought she looked very well and spoke very well and it was a bit of a PR campaign and what did you expect," he added.

Glen Killane, RTE's managing director of television, has been unavailable for comment on the controversy surrounding the interview.

The national broadcaster has so far declined to comment further other than to say that McCollum was not paid directly for the interview.

Herald

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