RTÉ gets 31 complaints after 'Late Late Show' dummy birth sparks criticism

Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

Melanie Finn and Eilish O'Regan

RTÉ said it had received 31 formal complaints in the wake of the 'Late Late Show' airing a controversial segment featuring a birthing simulator called Lucina.

A spokeswoman confirmed the broadcaster received dozens of complaints about the item, which was broadcast on Friday night. It also received lots of feedback on social media as the segment met a mixed reaction.

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (Aims) said it was dismayed at the "poor judgment" expressed by the 'Late Late Show' editorial team for the feature.

Eyebrows were raised after a teaching robot - named Lucina - was brought into the studio to demonstrate to viewers how medical students learn about childbirth and labour as part of their training.

Master of the Rotunda Hospital Professor Fergal Malone was joined by Dr Catherine Finnegan, tutor and specialist registrar at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) department of obstetrics and gynaecology, and medical student Ciara Malone, to simulate a delivery. Host Ryan Tubridy interviewed Prof Malone for the item, as medical student Ciara demonstrated how the dummy "gave birth". However, Aims said it was disappointed at the feature.

"As the representative body for maternity service users in Ireland, Aims calls on RTÉ to apologise and also looks to the Broadcasting Authority to comment on the piece," a spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman commended the empathy shown by Joe Duffy on Liveline, where the show held a series on the issue of maternity services in Ireland.

Neither the RCSI or the HSE would comment any further when contacted, given the reaction from Aims. The HSE said the subject was a matter for RTÉ.

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