Saturday 24 March 2018

Senator Mary Moran petitions RTE over Special Olympics

Labour Senator Mary Moran with RTE's head of sport Ryle Nugent. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Labour Senator Mary Moran with RTE's head of sport Ryle Nugent. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Danielle Stephens

A PETITION has been presented to RTE calling on the station to show live coverage of this weekend's national Special Olympics.

Senator Mary Moran had nearly 700 signatures collected from a handwritten and online petition that she started last week and yesterday afternoon handed it to Ryle Nugent, the broadcaster's head of sport.

Previously the senator complained about the lack of live coverage for the Paralympics. Ms Moran, who is also a spokesperson on disability, has a son who will compete in the games.

"Once again, when I discovered that there were no plans for live coverage, I was very disappointed at the missed opportunity," she said.

"A positive story like this is needed after a particularly bad couple of weeks with dreadful reports being released, pertaining to children."

Ms Moran disputes comments made to her by RTE officials last month, explaining why they wouldn't be providing live coverage.

The RTÉ spokesperson said that the national broadcaster has to be careful in selecting programmes viewers will want to watch.

"We only need to look at the participation and excitement from the audience and volunteers in the 2003 Special Olympics that were held in Ireland.

"If anything, local sports will attract a larger audience," she added.

RTE released a statement yesterday afternoon, explaining their decision not to show live coverage of the games.

"While RTE covered the World Games Opening Ceremony live, we have never covered the national games live. Live broadcasting is an extremely expensive business and RTE does not have the resources to do so on this occasion," said Mr Nugent.

The statement outlined a range of different programmes that will be broadcast across its services, including sports bulletins on the 'Six-One News' and 'Morning Edition'.

Cameras will film footage for a 'Nationwide' programme that will be aired on June 18 and several of RTE's radio programmes will also provide updates on the games.

Fiona Hynes, of Special Olympics Ireland, said: "We're happy with RTE's coverage of the games so far, but we would never say no to more publicity from all Irish media outlets."

The games are due to take place in Limerick from June 12 to 15.

Irish Independent

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