Friday 9 December 2016

RTE under fire over McDowell

Published 17/04/2016 | 02:30

Mr McDowell featured prominently on RTE's 1916 programming and has contributed to prime-time current-affairs shows since he announced his candidacy
Mr McDowell featured prominently on RTE's 1916 programming and has contributed to prime-time current-affairs shows since he announced his candidacy

RTE has come under fire for the "inordinate" amount of airtime given to former justice minister Michael McDowell since he launched his campaign to become a senator.

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Mr McDowell featured prominently on RTE's 1916 programming and has contributed to prime-time current-affairs shows since he announced his candidacy.

The coverage has infuriated other candidates and resulted in Fine Gael Seanad hopeful Pearce Flannery lodging a formal complaint with the broadcaster last Friday.

Both Mr Flannery and Mr McDowell are running on the National University of Ireland panel.

In his letter to RTE, which has been seen by the Sunday Independent, the Galway businessman questioned the station's impartiality and claimed "preferential treatment" was given to the former Attorney General.

"There are 30 candidates in the election and the coverage given to the majority of these has been limited and in many cases non-existent.

"It would appear that preferential treatment has been afforded to Mr McDowell due to his profile and past positions held," he added.

Yesterday, Mr McDowell hit back at Mr Flannery, saying: "I'm sure RTE will have him on if he has anything interesting to say on any subject."

RTE said that it does not comment on individual cases and all formal complaints received would be responded to in due course.

Sunday Independent

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