Wednesday 28 September 2016

Fianna Fail accuse RTE of unfair treatment on 'Claire Byrne Live' programme

Published 22/04/2015 | 10:30

Claire Byrne on the set of her RTE show.
Claire Byrne on the set of her RTE show.

FIANNA Fail has accused RTE of having a "clear agenda" against the party following the 'Claire Byrne Live' programme on Monday night.

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Fianna Fáil sources claim its representatives were unfairly treated on the flagship show which dealt with the party's current standing in Irish politics as well its previous mistakes.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin

A source today said party officials will consider whether to lodge a complaint with RTE or the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

"It felt like we are were going on just to talk about our past. This isn't the first time we've felt there is a clear agenda against us. We have to consider our options."

Fianna Fáil was represented on the programme panel by former minister Mary O’Rourke and party justice spokesperson Niall Collins.

University College Cork (UCC) lecturer Niamh Hourigan, and commentator  Noel Whelan, also participated.

An RTE spokesperson told the Irish Times that the broadcaster is very happy that the programme was fair and impartial.

RTE has come under fire in recent weeks from both Government and opposition circles over some of its coverage.

Government sources have said they feel the broadcaster gives too much air time to anti-water charge protesters.

However, senior RTE figures such as Deputy Director General Kevin Bakhurst have rejected the criticism.

Fianna Fail's 3,000 delegates at this weekend's Ard Fheis will be asked to back a motion to abolish the television licence due to "lack of balance in RTE."

The motion is backed by the Grange branch and the Waterford constituency organisation of the party and will be debated on Saturday afternoon.

It comes amid a growing view within the party grassroots that the national broadcaster is not giving them fair play and enough air-time.

But it is also a very clear sign of members' frustration that Fianna Fail continues to be stuck below the 20pc in the opinion polls - and very close to the 17pc vote share they got in the February 2011 electoral meltdown.

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