Wednesday 17 July 2019

RTÉ move for drinks advocate approved

Roisin Shortall
Roisin Shortall

Sam Griffin

FORMER minister Róisín Shortall questioned the decision to approve the appointment of the former head of an alcohol advocacy group to the board of RTÉ.

Communications Minister Alex White secured Government approval to appoint four new members to the board of RTÉ, and three members to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The nomination of Fionnuala Sheehan, former head of MEAS (Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society) has caused controversy.

Ms Shortall criticised Ms Sheehan's appointment. "Alex White should know a lot better and consider the damage alcohol has done to this country given his work in the area of substance abuse.

However, Ms Sheehan has insisted there was no conflict of interest, and said: "I've undertaken training in company directing and am aware of the responsibilities required."


The Department of Communications said the minister had made his own appointments last year. Yesterday's appointees had been recommended by an Oireachtas committee.

Aer Arann founder Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the Economist Group's global chief financial officer Shane Naughton and financial journalist Margaret Ward will also join RTÉ's board.

Meanwhile, the Government last night pledged to continue RTÉ's dual funding model.

It allows RTÉ to benefit from both licence fee payments and commercial advertising, which rivals have criticised as an unfair commercial advantage.

A spokesperson said there are no plans to end the model.

Irish Independent

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