Broadcaster stands by decision to drop grieving father from line-up at last minute
RTÉ has defended its decision to drop grieving father Andrew McGinley from The Late Late Show after receiving correspondence from members of Deirdre Morley’s family.
Ms Morley killed the couple’s three children at their Dublin home in January 2020.
The father-of-three was due to appear on the primetime TV show on October 8 to announce plans for a fundraising concert in his children’s memory.
However, just hours before the show was to air, he announced he would not be appearing.
Yesterday, Independent.ie revealed the national broadcaster told Mr McGinley it had received a letter which said that “it could be a painful and traumatic experience” to see him talking about Conor, Darragh and Carla on The Late Late Show.
The children were killed by their mother Deirdre Morley who was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering them.
When contacted by this newspaper a month ago, RTÉ declined to comment on the circumstances behind the decision to drop him from the advertised line-up.
However, in a statement released today, the station said it was following Broadcasting Authority Ireland (BAI) Codes and had explained its reasoning to Mr McGinley.
“We understand the immense grief of Mr McGinley and the sensitivities around this tragedy,” said the statement.
“RTÉ is obliged to adhere to BAI Codes when dealing with such sensitive issues. RTÉ spoke to Mr McGinley and also wrote to him a number of weeks ago explaining our reasons not to proceed with the planned interview on The Late Late Show on Friday, October 8.
"We have not commented on the specifics of our contacts with Mr McGinley. We have also respected the confidentiality of the representations we received from other family members. RTÉ gave due consideration to all of this in light of our obligations under the relevant BAI Codes and understand it is extremely sensitive.”
On foot of Independent.ie reporting, RTÉ Radio One invited Mr McGinley onto its News At One programme today to discuss the controversy.
He has said he understands that some people find his story “upsetting” but he wants to publicly remember his children.
"That's important to me because they had such short lives and what I want to keep doing for the rest of my days is to keep their memories alive.
"I was told, I think it was two or three people wrote in who objected to my appearance. I was told they objected because it could be a painful experience for them,” Mr McGinley said.
Senator Micheál Carrigy, Fine Gael Seanad media spokesperson, said there were questions to answer regarding the reasons behind RTÉ’s decision.
“Is it standard practice for RTÉ to pull guests due to complaints received from the public?” said Mr Carrigy.
“How many complaints have they received in relation to other guests, and have they taken similar actions as a result of these communications? Should this not just be an editorial matter for The Late Late staff rather than for members of the public to decide who appears on the show?”
It’s been more than 18 months since the deaths of Conor, Darragh and Carla. In May, their mother Deirdre was found not guilty of their murder by reason of insanity and committed to the Central Mental Hospital.
Since then, Andrew has been campaigning tirelessly for the greater inclusion for families in the mental health treatment of loved ones. At the same time, he has been working on his charity efforts in memory of his three children.
Deirdre Morley took the lives of her sons Conor McGinley (9) and Darragh McGinley (7) and daughter Carla McGinley (3) on January 24, 2020 at their home on Newcastle, Co Dublin.
Her trial heard she had suffered from mental health difficulties for several years. Ms Morley, who worked as a paediatric nurse at Crumlin Children’s Hospital, had a long history of depression and her condition escalated to delusion and psychosis by the time she killed the children.
However, she hid the severity of her condition from those closest to her.
In the wake of the trial verdict, Andrew McGinley has been calling for an inquiry into his wife’s care and diagnosis prior to the children’s deaths.