Monday 29 May 2017

'Today Tonight' accused of undermining Stardust Tribunal

Disco tragedy

Ed Carty

A SENIOR adviser to Charles Haughey accused RTE of undermining the Stardust Tribunal by airing an in-depth report into the tragedy.

Two days after the Valentine's night disaster in the Artane dance hall, the 'Today Tonight' programme planned to analyse the events -- much to the disgust of a civil servant in the Taoiseach's office.

In a hand-written memo to the Secretary to the Government on the morning the programme was going out, the adviser claimed that on face value it was inappropriate for RTE to make the show.

'Today Tonight' was reviewing what happened on the night 48 people died and the grounds for a tribunal.

"I do not know whether anything can be done to stop this programme or, indeed, whether the Taoiseach would wish that there should be any interference with RTE's direction in the matter," the civil servant wrote.

"On the face of it, it seems to be quite inappropriate for RTE to be undermining an inquiry in a matter that is to be the subject of a formal investigation pursuant to a government decision."

Despite the concerns, the civil servants' fears were ultimately not acted on.

"This programme was mentioned by the minister to the Taoiseach this morning. I don't think that anything can be done about it," an official wrote back.

Irish Independent

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