Thursday 20 June 2019

Ní Bheoláin will return to the 'Nine News' on Christmas Day after her complaint to RTÉ bosses

Sharon Ní Bheoláin
Sharon Ní Bheoláin
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Sharon Ní Bheoláin will return to RTÉ One's 'Nine O'Clock News' over Christmas, days after registering a formal complaint to her bosses.

The news anchor is scheduled to present the Christmas Day news, despite making a complaint to the station following an incident on Wednesday, December 12.

This was the day that British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a motion of no confidence in Westminster.

It is understood that Ms Ní Bheoláin was in Montrose when she was told informally by a colleague that the 9pm news would be co-presented from London by the 'Six One News' co-anchor Caitriona Perry.

Ms Ní Bheoláin, a 20-year veteran at the State broadcaster, is understood to have approached senior management to air her discontent.

She then had a further meeting with the managing director of news and current affairs, Jon Williams, as it is believed that the anchor felt her position had been undermined.

Catriona Perry. Photo: David Conachy
Catriona Perry. Photo: David Conachy

The 'Sunday Independent' broke the story yesterday, revealing that a source had said of the incident: "Sharon felt that to ask another presenter... to handle the main breaking news story of the day on the 9pm main bulletin - which is not co-anchored - would completely erode her credibility with viewers.

"Some people thought it surprising that Sharon was being so assertive in defending her patch. Sharon is tough and assertive but in fairness, in all the years she has always been cool about programme decisions, so it must have really annoyed her.

"When she didn't present the 'Nine O'Clock' the following evening or on Friday, everyone was talking about it."

The 'Nine O'Clock News' has been presented in recent days by Eileen Whelan, although Ms Ní Bheoláin presented other programmes this week, including 'Crimecall'.

A source has confirmed that she will be back in the presenter's chair tomorrow.

On the day of the no-confidence vote, Ms Perry had been dispatched to Westminster.

The vote took place from 6pm until 8pm that night. The result was set to break on the 9pm news, leaving an opportunity for Ms Ní Bheoláin to take over from the Dublin studio.

Ms Ní Bheoláin was understood to have informed RTÉ that if it had wanted a presenter in Westminster, she would have been available.

However, a source said: "Everything had already been set up over there for the 'Six One News', so there was no additional cost to the station.

"It would have literally been the price of a plane ticket on what could have been one of the biggest stories of the year if Mrs May had lost the vote."

RTÉ management is understood to have used Ms Perry for the 6pm and 9pm news bulletins in an effort to make the best use of resources.

It is understood that Ms Ní Bheoláin made contact with Ms Perry after the newsroom disagreement to tell her that the dispute was not personal and that she had only been protecting her position as the 9pm news anchor.

The Irish Independent contacted RTÉ and Ms Ní Bheoláin yesterday.

The broadcaster said it would not be issuing a comment, as did Ms Ní Bheoláin. Ms Perry could not be contacted for comment.

Irish Independent

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