Thursday 19 April 2018

RTE silent on claims star took drugs while at work

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

RTE last night refused to comment on further weekend revelations about the late Gerry Ryan's drug use.

Reports claimed the broadcaster's use of cocaine was "an open secret" in RTE and that he regularly took drugs while working in the station.

The claims came after an inquest at the Coroner's Court in Dublin on Friday found the cause of the 53-year-old's death last April was triggered by cocaine.

However, RTE last night would not say if it was aware Mr Ryan had taken the drug while working at the station.

It also declined to say if station management was aware of the presenter's drug use or if it had offered to provide him with counselling.

A spokesman said RTE, as the late Mr Ryan's employers, would not be commenting on the verdict or any subsequent coverage.

"While RTE will, in its capacity as broadcaster, report on the findings of the Coroner's Court, RTE will not, in its capacity as employer, make any comment on the findings, nor on other coverage or comment arising from the proceedings or findings.

"RTE's first obligation as employer is to the family and partner of the late Gerry Ryan," a station spokesman told the Irish Independent.


The station went on to restate its policy towards drugs and alcohol in the workplace as laid out in detail in Section 14 of the RTE staff manual.

These include provision 14.1 which states: "Staff are not permitted to attend the premises or carry out their duties whilst under the influence of non-prescription drugs."

Provision 14.5 adds: "RTE has in place a policy to deal with alcohol or drug dependency problems, the aim of which is to demonstrate concern for and assist staff who may have developed these addictions. RTE will enact that policy should any work performance, the standard of safety or the reputation of RTE become jeopardised in any way."

It was also claimed that RTE management wrote to Mr Ryan in the weeks before his death to inform him that as an outside contractor he would not be entitled to sick pay.

Sources close to Mr Ryan have claimed this led to Mr Ryan feeling under pressure to attend work despite being unwell.

However, this arrangement is standard in all RTE contracts for outside contractors.

It is understood all of the station's presenters were notified in writing that this would be applied.

The station said it wanted to extend its condolences again to Mr Ryan's family and partner Melanie Verwoerd.

"RTE again wishes to acknowledge its sadness at the sudden loss of Gerry Ryan earlier in the year."

Irish Independent

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