Gerry O'Carroll: Time for RTE to do right thing (finally) on cocaine debacle

THE storm of controversy surrounding Gerry Ryan's drug abuse has been nothing short of a debacle for RTE.

The country's largest broadcast media organisation has once again failed in basic PR.

From its biggest stars to its basic press functions, RTE has managed to invite a storm of controversy onto itself.

For a start, they dropped the ball when it came to the coverage of the inquest, and remained curiously silent when former presenter Gareth O'Callaghan made his series of startling revelations about cocaine.

O'Callaghan believes there is a rampant and endemic culture of cocaine use that has infected every level of RTE, including management, and that at least four of its personalities were hooked on the drug.


He was followed by one of the country's most respected investigative journalists, Jim Cusack.

Cusack reported that senior figures in the gardai and Department of Justice believe that corrupt gardai protected drug-using public figures, among them Gerry Ryan.

Cusack's source also told him that half of one cocaine dealer's trade came from RTE.

As a result of these disclosures and allegations, the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has launched an immediate investigation.

Senior investigators now intend to interview Cusack and his editor. I sincerely hope it's not another case of the authorities shooting the messenger.

To compound the troubles of RTE management, yesterday we learned that swabs taken from the cistern and toilet seats in the main canteen showed traces of heroin.

In a belated PR move, the head of Corporate Communications Kevin Dawson has admitted that it was wrong to censor the coverage of Gerry Ryan's cocaine habit. He also made the pathetic admission that it hadn't covered the outcome as vigorously as it could have.

From the beginning of this controversy I have called for a full investigation into all aspects surrounding Ryan's death.

RTE must now come clean and offer full disclosure to the garda investigation. The likes of Gareth O'Callaghan and Joe Jackson have led the way.

RTE must realise that there is no hiding place and that to engage in a cover up is shameful and does no justice to the life of Gerry Ryan.

The station will be further shamed by a new poll which reveals that 68pc of the public believed that there had been a conspiracy of silence in RTE.

It took a brave stance from Gareth O'Callaghan to lift the veil of secrecy. He even claimed that Ryan offered him coke in the RTE canteen, joking with him "don't knock it til you try it".


For his honesty, he says he has been treated as a pariah by people in RTE and has received sinister telephone calls. Clearly there are people who wish this ugly story would remain untold, but it is vital that the public knows of the evils of cocaine.

I fervently hope that this investigation will result in a prosecution for those who supplied deadly cocaine to Gerry.

Don't punish kindly gardai who came to aid of our Rosanna

OUR very own agony aunt Rosanna Davison may have inadvertently caused problems for her two gallant gardai when she tweeted about their rescue mission.

She stumbled on an icy pavement after a night out and along came two stalwarts of the boys in blue, who delivered her safely home.

Now it appears other media outlets have criticised the garda action.

Only witnesses and injured parties in crimes are legitimate passengers in garda vehicles, according to regulations.

Personally, I believe they did what any right-thinking Christian and good police officer would do. I'm just hoping the Garda Ombudsman will take the same view!

The good deed reminds me of my own efforts at gallantry some years ago.

I was on patrol on a dark winter's day in the middle of the Dublin mountains when I saw an old woman struggling with two bags. I stopped t and helped her into the rear seat and drove her to her destination.

I felt really good, until I got back to the station in Rathfarnham and put my hand back on the rear seat to retrieve my cap.

It was then I discovered that the old lady had done her business on the back seat. And, as I picked up my sodden cap, I vowed that from then on I'd be very reluctant to give lifts to ladies of a certain vintage!

A happy and holy Christmas to you all

CHRISTMAS is a very special time of the year, when every man, woman and child wants to be at home with their loved ones.

And it looks as if even the weather is conspiring against us on that count this year, doing everything possible to stop us from getting home to spend it with our families.

Airports across Europe are in chaos and many people's travel plans are being thrown into disarray.

Like many others, I'm waiting to see my loved ones come home for the festive season.

And I assure you we're not worrying about presents, all we want is to see our family at home for the turkey, ham and pudding around the table.

I wish all of my readers the same this Christmas, to be surrounded by loved ones.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have written or sent emails to me throughout the year.

God knows, we've come through a bleak year, but hopefully the future won't be so bleak.

So wherever you are this weekend, dear reader, I wish you a happy and holy Christmas.