Tuesday 22 May 2018

'Lessons must be learned' as RTE apologise for map of Ireland that erased Northern counties

The 'disrespectful' map of Ireland that was shown on The Late Late Show
The 'disrespectful' map of Ireland that was shown on The Late Late Show

Kathy Armstrong

Lessons must be learned after RTE was forced to apologised for the "erasure" of the North from a map of Ireland, politicians have claimed.

RTE was accused of "undermining people's sense of identity" by displaying the "disrespectful" map on an episode of The Late Late Show recently.

The incident sparked a backlash and the national broadcaster received over 200 complaints, prompting The Late Late Show's executive producer John McMahon to say sorry.

Mr McMahon claimed that the map was based on "data received from the Republic of Ireland census" and is not a geographical representation of Ireland.

He added: "All I can do is assure you that it was not an intentional slight on our audience north of the border and I apologise for the upset caused to viewers both there and in the Republic."

One of the politicians he wrote to was Sinn Fein MLA Barry Mc Elduff, who said "enough is enough."

Barry McElduff
Barry McElduff

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The West Tyrone representative  told Independent.ie: "I'm pleased to receive this apology, I know they received a lot of complaints about the map and it was keenly felt by many people.

"It's not an ordinary omission and enough is enough, they cannot undermine people's national sense of identity like this.

"I'm a fan of RTE, I enjoy watching the Late Late Show and The Sunday Game, so they should stop writing us out of the script."

There were comments on social media suggesting that the map represents what Ireland looks like following recent flooding or how a possible border could look after Brexit.

Mr Mc Elduff said: "People were sick to their stomachs hearing those kind of remarks, there was definitely a sense of disappointment.

"I feel we've been tolerant about those kind of remarks but perhaps we're too tolerant and it's time to speak up because this definitely does offend people's sense of themselves."

SDLP MLA Mark Durkan has also welcomed the apology and called for lessons to be learned following the uproar about the "disrespectful" map.

He said: “The erasure of the North from a map displaying income inequality across the island was totally disrespectful and offensive to RTÉ’s broad audience here.

“I’m pleased that the broadcaster has now recognised the deeply offensive nature of the error and apologised for the disrespect caused.

“I hope that lessons will be learned.”

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