Thursday 23 November 2017

Carey denies pursuing RTE vendetta over Ryan drug use

Shane Hickey and Michael Brennan

A GOVERNMENT minister last night denied he was engaged in a "vendetta" against RTE over its coverage of the death of broadcaster Gerry Ryan.

Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Pat Carey has been highly critical of the station for not devoting enough coverage to the inquest that found that Mr Ryan had traces of cocaine in his body.

And he said that RTE, and the media generally, were "very judgmental" about model Katy French, who died from cocaine in December 2007, and that it had now "come home to roost in their own case".

But Mr Carey said yesterday that his comments were not part of a vendetta inspired by the station's critical coverage of Fianna Fail.

"No, there is absolutely no vendetta at all. It was an RTE journalist that asked me those questions and RTE seemed to agree completely with what I had said," he said.

Mr Carey's words came as RTE said the discovery of heroin at their Dublin studios was surprising and a "clearly unwelcome" development.

The traces of heroin were found on a toilet seat in the canteen area of the national broadcasters's Donnybrook headquarters.

Mr Carey said he found it "a bit disappointing" that RTE had not covered the drug-related aspect of Mr Ryan's death in more detail .

"Sometimes we're very good at giving things and sometimes we're not great at taking criticism and maybe all media might look into their own heart and see where they stand in relation to that," he said.

RTE has acknowledged that its coverage of Mr Ryan's death was "less than it could have been". But the discovery of traces of heroin in its toilets comes at a time when a senior garda has been appointed to investigate allegations that members of the force protected broadcaster Gerry Ryan and other public figures from questioning over drug use.

Gareth O'Callaghan, a former colleague of the deceased DJ, has made a statement to gardai about his knowledge of Mr Ryan's drug taking.

A reporter from 'The Sun' newspaper used a drug detection kit to analyse swabs taken from the toilets in Donnybrook. Traces of heroin were found as a result.

Yesterday, a spokesman for RTE said the development was a surprise. "Any discovery of this sort is clearly unwelcome in a public space and certainly on a public space on our campus. We will treat it with all due seriousness," he said.

RTE wants the newspaper to hand over the details of the drug test to gardai. The station said the area where the heroin was found was in the most frequently used section of the campus, where both staff and members of the public congregated.


"We will await any response from the gardai, assuming that the newspaper does as requested and forwards all information and material to them," the spokesman said.

The station said it would take all appropriate steps to protect the health and welfare of staff. A spokesperson for 'The Sun' could not be contacted on the matter.

Meanwhile, Lord Henry Mountcharles, the music promoter, said he was not surprised to learn cocaine had played a part in Mr Ryan's death.

"I suspected prior to when the autopsy results came out that it would be likely. It was well known that he had a problem," he said.

"I saw Gerry now and again, and this is no disrespect to Gerry because he was extremely talented and clever, very astute broadcaster, but it didn't take rocket science to recognise the signs."

Irish Independent

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