Thursday 18 October 2018

'I don't know of any RTE Tweetgate conspiracy,' says Pat Kenny

Eleanor McEvoy, of IMRO, presents his award to Pat Kenny, of Newstalk
Eleanor McEvoy, of IMRO, presents his award to Pat Kenny, of Newstalk

Sorcha O'Connor

Broadcaster Pat Kenny has rubbished a claim by a whistleblower that RTE's coverage of the 2011 presidential debate was biased.

"I don't know of anything that was a conspiracy," he said.

"Certainly The Frontline show was done with honesty and integrity and we gave the best shake to everyone we could.

"On the night, of course, events overtook us because you had the charge from Martin McGuinness against Sean Gallagher and then the famous tweet came in.

"Live TV, live radio is full of surprises. You hope it won't be all predictable and tedious, and you recognise those surprises when they happen and it is how people react - whether you're a David Norris, a Sean Gallagher or a Michael D - the way you react under the pressure is important."

Kenny was speaking to Independent.ie as he was inducted into the IMRO Hall of Fame for a career that has spanned 41 years.

He joined FM104/Q102 boss Margaret Nelson, iRadio's Willie O'Reilly and 2fm's Ian Wilson, whose wife Aine Lawlor also has a spot on the wall of fame.

As for pinpointing a career highlight, Kenny still fondly remembers his first day on the job.

Willie O'Reilly, of iRadio
Willie O'Reilly, of iRadio

"It was quite a simple thing," he said.

"I said, 'The time is a quarter to two'. Seven words - and I was terrified."

Yesterday, David Attenborough hit out at the BBC, saying it did not adequately cover the arts and culture material.

However, Kenny reckoned his old employers at RTE were fulfilling their remit in that regard.

"I think by and large they do. And by the way, Newstalk do as well because they have their documentaries," he said.

"They do it even though they know it won't be rewarded by audiences."

However, he added that there should be more radio programmes for ethnic minorities.

"I think radio stations have a good sense of providing something for the rounded Irish person.

"If we are lacking anything, it is that we are not servicing the new minorities enough.

"Maybe for an hour on Saturday it would be Radio Lithuania, and the next hour, Radio Romania.

"Maybe we need to do something for the new minorities."

Read more: Pat Kenny to stay at Newstalk until at least 2020 after signing new contract

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