| 11.3°C Dublin

Now Browne turns on his bosses at TV3 over Lenihan

TV3 journalist Vincent Browne has criticised his own station over the reporting of Brian Lenihan's cancer diagnosis.

Mr Browne added his voice to those who said the broadcaster was wrong to break the news Mr Lenihan's illness on St Stephen's Day.

He said the "timing was wrong and it should have been delayed".

Mr Browne also questioned the decision to broadcast an interview with cancer specialist Professor John Crown, who explained pancreatic cancer to viewers.

However, he said that "we all make mistakes".

Mr Browne admitted he did not initially believe TV3 News had been in error as there was an important public interest issue at stake.

"In retrospect, I think that perhaps the timing was wrong and it should have been delayed," he said.

"I thought it could have waited a little longer, until business resumed on January 4. To be fair and to be honest, I did not think that at the time," he said.

On TV3's Tonight with Vincent Browne last night, the station refused to provide a representative.

However, in a statement provided to the show, it defended the broadcast.


"The report was a legitimate and important news story because it was properly and professionally sourced and because the minister's health is a matter of public interest," it said.

The station acknowledged the timing of the report was an extremely sensitive issue.

"TV3 believes that there is a professional obligation to distribute news to our viewers as it occurs and was known and that we held the report for as long as feasible within that obligation."

It said it was a "profoundly difficult judgment call and we accept that others may reasonably have concluded differently".

Mr Lenihan has said his cancer diagnosis was a matter of public interest.

But the public interest could still have been served if the news was delayed until after the New Year, he believed.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Brian Cowen has vowed to support Mr Lenihan "in every way" during his cancer battle.

In what were his first public comments on Mr Lenihan's illness, Mr Cowen said yesterday the Minister for Finance has the full support of his Cabinet colleagues.

"We will support him in every way as he faces and confronts this particular illness and we will work very closely with him on that and we wish him well, of course," he said.