Friday 23 March 2018

RTÉ accused of acting like 'agent provocateur'

Senator David Norris
Senator David Norris

Kevin Doyle and Philip Ryan

RTÉ has been accused of acting like "agent provocateur" and taking part in illegal practices by Senator David Norris.

The politician has revealed he was contacted by the broadcaster who accused him of failing to declare he was a director of a film company.

Mr Norris said he was handed a letter "like something from the Gestapo". "I found that very shocking. I was absolutely shaking from it," he said.

Mr Norris told the Seanad that he had "never heard of that company" and made it clear to RTÉ that he was "blissfully unaware of the situation".

"I condemn utterly corruption but I also condemn the squalid methods employed by RTÉ in the making of that programme," he said.

Senator Paul Coghlan was also contacted by RTÉ about his declaration of interest.

"Of course, they were totally wrong. I am neither a shareholder nor a director of the company they named," he said.

Other Oireachtas members named during the show have complained that minor errors on their declarations of interests were highlighted alongside more serious allegations.

Former minister John Perry was shown to have a derelict carpark that was not declared. He told the Irish Independent his case had "no relevance" to the programme and he has not had to amend his records.

Cork North-West TD Áine Collins said omitting two directorships was "clearly an error" but added it was "unfortunate to be on the same programme where there were serious omissions and corruption".

Cork East TD Tom Barry said it was "outrageous" that RTÉ would draw comparisons between public representatives forgetting to file declarations and councillors apparently seeking personal gain from performing their duties.

Senator Mary Ann O'Brien said she was shocked that a "minor error" in her declarations "would be tangled into a huge story of corruption and fraud".

RTÉ declined to comment.

Irish Independent

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