Friday 20 September 2019

Final Results

Repeal the Eighth Amendment?

Yes 66.40% 1,429,981

No 33.60% 723,632

  • Constituencies declared: 40/40

Referendum Hub

RTÉ receives complaints about Claire Byrne Live abortion referendum debate

In total 650,000 viewers tuned in at some point during the programme on Monday night

Claire Byrne. Photo: David Conachy
Claire Byrne. Photo: David Conachy

Kevin Doyle, Group Political Editor

RTÉ has received a number of complaints about its handling of the first televised debate of the referendum campaign.

Last night’s ‘Claire Byrne Live’ programme featured both a panel debate and contributions from an audience filled with supporters of the Yes and No side.

There was repeated clapping and cheering throughout the programme and accusations that representatives on both sides were telling lies.

In a statement this afternoon, RTÉ said it gave “an equal opportunity” for both sides to air their arguments “which both sides did passionately and trenchantly”.

“Impartial analysis of Claire Byrne Live Referendum Special will show that when the number of speakers on each side of the referendum question and the airtime afforded to them are both taken into account, the programme gave an equitable and fair opportunity to both sides to express their views,” a spokesperson said.

“While the programme did its best to include as many voices as it could, it was not possible to speak to everyone and it was made clear to every audience member in advance that there was no guarantee they would get to speak on the programme.”

The broadcaster confirmed that it has received complaints but declined to release the exact figures because of the campaign is ongoing. They plan to revealed more details after the vote on May 25.

In total 650,000 viewers tuned in at some point during the programme on Monday night.

The average audience increased by up to 53pc as the broadcast continued.

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