Thursday 5 December 2019

Garda probe at RTE into 'menacing' calls

Businesswoman complains of late-night ordeal

THE RTE BUILDING WHICH IS TO BE DEMOLISHED DURING A MAJOR RE VAMP AT THE STUDIOS.
PIC STEVE HUMPHREYS
28TH SEPTEMBER 2009.
THE RTE BUILDING WHICH IS TO BE DEMOLISHED DURING A MAJOR RE VAMP AT THE STUDIOS. PIC STEVE HUMPHREYS 28TH SEPTEMBER 2009.

Tom Brady and  Dearbhail McDonald

A HIGH-profile businesswoman has complained to gardai that she received "menacing and creepy" late-night phone calls from an RTE employee.

The calls were alleged to have been made from a phone number in the RTE newsroom, although the man under suspicion does not work in that department. However, a senior RTE source last night denied the calls were made from that department.

The man has been interviewed by gardai, who are taking the complaint seriously.

A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought. The calls are alleged to be linked to a dispute in which the businesswoman became involved as a result of her voluntary activities.

The woman is said by friends to have been intimidated by the late-night phone calls.

She received a number of calls last April, the Irish Independent understands.

In some of the calls, the man remained silent and then hung up the phone.

The woman told friends: "I would say that the experience was very stressful, it was unsettling."

"I found it menacing and quite creepy", she added.

On one occasion, the woman attempted to phone the number but did not receive a reply.

She then received a voice mail in which the man gave a false name and said he worked on the RTE radio current affairs programme, 'Today with Sean O'Rourke'.

He invited her to take part in the show and discuss the problems she had encountered as a result of a dispute involving voluntary members of a national body.

Commenting on the message, the woman said: "I played it back some time later, and the more I played it back, the creepier it sounded."

The woman lodged a complaint with the gardai in Donnybrook, south Dublin, and with RTE at nearby Montrose.

Gardai confirmed last night that detectives were carrying out an investigation into the complaint and were following a definite line of inquiry.

The suspect has no connection with Sean O'Rourke's (pictured) programme or with the station's current affairs staff.

Detectives are understood to have examined records of calls made and received on the phone number at the centre of the complaint.

They have also interviewed the suspect, who met the detectives by arrangement at a garda station in Dublin.

RTE carried out a separate internal inquiry into the complaint.

A station spokeswoman confirmed last night that an internal inquiry had been held but would not disclose what disciplinary action, if any, had been taken, as the details were confidential.

She said the incident did not require a review of security but pointed out that RTE was co-operating fully with the garda investigation.

She said RTE did not have any further comment to make on the inquiries.

Irish Independent

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