Sunday 23 July 2017

Senior RTE figure accepts flawed 'Frontline' programme changed election outcome

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A SENIOR RTE figure has accepted the flawed ‘Frontline’ Presidential debate changed the outcome of election.





The State broadcaster has confirmed a disciplinary process was carried out with sanctions imposed on a number of staff in the wake of the fall-out from the critical debate.

An internal RTE report probing the ‘Frontline’ debate found an RTE worker allowed his Labour party friend to ask questions and the eventual winner, Michael D Higgins, was given a softer ride than other candidates.

David Nally, RTE’s news and current affairs editor, said he accepted the debate had “changed the outcome” of the Presidential election.

He told Newstalk Radio that many people watching the programme decided in the “final few days that it was too big a leap” to take to vote Sean Gallagher in as President.

Kevin Bakhurst, RTE’s head of news and current affairs, admitted some “serious mistakes” were made in the programme. He said disciplinary action had been taken but declined to name any of the individuals involved.

“I stand by the apology RTE has issued and I’m happy to issue another apology to Mr Gallagher and to the other candidates because I don’t think this was a perfect programme and the report makes that clear,” he said, in an interview on RTE Radio.

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