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Kenny aired a 'one-sided' RTE show on Bertie, finds watchdog

PAT KENNY'S radio show has come under fire for broadcasting a "one-sided" show on Bertie Ahern featuring his former party colleague Royston Brady.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has taken RTE to task for its "unfair" coverage of the last Taoiseach and his financial affairs on the 'Today with Pat Kenny' show on October 27.

It upheld a complaint, by an unnamed individual, against the show just a day after the Mahon Tribunal condemned Mr Ahern's own account of his finances.

The authority said its Compliance Committee upheld the complaint against the programme that centred on a discussion of Colm Kenna's book, 'Bertie: Power and Money', last year.

It found that Mr Ahern should have been given a right of reply given the allegations were made about his honesty on the programme, which was aired last October.

On the show, Pat Kenny was joined by journalist Colm Kenna, former Fianna Fail Dublin Mayor Royston Brady and Fianna Fail activist Joe Tierney.

During the show, Mr Tierney said Mr Ahern did everything "with a motive for himself". "Fianna Fail owes nothing to Bertie Ahern but Bertie Ahern owes everything to Fianna Fail," he said.

The authority said the person who complained argued that the discussion during the programme on the newly released book was "one-sided".

The person who made the complaint said it "should have contained a balancing voice", but "demonstrated a lack of fairness, objectivity and impartiality".

The broadcasting authority said the focus of the discussion on the political and financial activities of Mr Ahern and criticism of these activities "was a legitimate subject matter" for a news programme.

"However, given the allegations made during the programme as well as the personal remarks about the motivations and honesty of Mr Ahern, the absence during the programme of a right of reply or alternative perspectives on Mr Ahern was considered unfair," said the broadcasting authority. It said the programme was, therefore, in breach of the Broadcasting Act.

The announcement of the authority's decision to uphold the complaint was broadcast on RTE radio yesterday.

Irish Independent