Gormley rounds on RTÉ over Healy-Rae debate
A climate change debate featuring TD Michael Healy-Rae has been deemed "awful stuff" by a former environment minister.
Former Green Party TD John Gormley hit out at RTÉ after the 'Prime Time' debate and claimed the Kerry TD is a "climate change sceptic".
"Quite simply, giving a platform to those sort of views is no longer a tenable position for our national broadcaster, given that climate breakdown is our biggest challenge," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Healy-Rae has previously said he feels farmers are unfairly blamed for climate change and we should look at "10,000 aeroplanes in the sky".
His brother, TD Danny Healy-Rae, has also stated that he does not "subscribe to the idea that man can influence climate". He said: "God above is in charge of the weather, and we here can't do anything about it."
Mr Gormley said RTÉ should adopt a climate change reporting policy like the BBC's. The BBC's guidelines on "false balance" state: "To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday."
Michael Healy-Rae defended his appearance on 'Prime Time', saying: "I think everyone's entitled to an opinion. What is the point in two people sitting on a programme with the exact same ideology? It's not a debate."
He said he agreed with cutting down on single-use plastics and that deforestation was an issue.
RTÉ said Broadcasting Authority of Ireland guidelines state "the principle of fairness does not necessarily require that all possible opinions on a subject are addressed or that they should receive equal airtime".
It added: "The BAI advise that covering issues of public debate should be guided by ensuring 'equitable, proportionate coverage'."