Thursday 27 October 2016

TDs say RTÉ interview should be investigated

Published 09/04/2016 | 02:30

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport: Patrick O’Donovan: Photo Tom Burke
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport: Patrick O’Donovan: Photo Tom Burke

RTÉ is under renewed fire as members of the former Oireachtas communications committee said events surrounding the interview with drug mule Michaella McCollum should be investigated.

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TDs who sat on the committee during the last Dáil term said it was in the public's interest that the cost of producing the interview was revealed.

Fine Gael TD Patrick O'Donovan said he was concerned that RTÉ may have paid over the odds for the interview.

"My concern with the public service broadcaster is value for money, particularly considering the licence fee is there for RTÉ.

"There needs to be accountability."

RTÉ said it did not pay McCollum for the interview and still refuses to outline how much it paid a production company for the programme.

"The programme was commissioned and delivered for RTÉ One within RTÉ's commissioning procedures and content standard guidelines," said a spokesperson last night.

Mr O'Donovan said these figures needed to be revealed so licence fee payers could understand where their money was going. "The 'commercially sensitive' argument is baloney," he said.

"My salary is known, my expenses are known. I have to account for that and rightly so.

"But if Irish Water's senior staff were not forced to disclose their salaries, the first people who would be outraged are RTÉ. They are operating a double standard. It smacks of total hypocrisy that they will not disclose where the licence fee is spent."

Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan also called for RTÉ to explain how they got the interview.

"There should be an open and frank discussion about everything that happened at that interview," he said.

Irish Independent

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