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Why didn't RTE make a few simple checks?

I CAN'T say I'm too surprised by the BAI decision. That tweet should never have been put to Sean Gallagher on live television without any attempt whatsoever to verify it.

There have to be protocols introduced by RTE in relation to the use of social media.

If you go to the BBC website, you will clearly see that they have social media protocols in place about the use of tweets on programmes and even on recorded programmes.

But here you had an event where the final debate of the Presidential election campaign was skewed by the use of a tweet. It opened up a debate that had already been dealt with by the candidate.

RTE made no attempt whatsoever to verify that the tweet was authentic. They could have picked up the phone or walked around the corridor to where the Sinn Fein media handlers were. This could all have been avoided if they just asked 'is it true that there is going to be a press conference tomorrow?'. There was no attempt to do that at all. And when Sinn Fein corrected the tweet and said that they weren't having a press conference, a correction was never broadcast either.

I think the Frontline programme had a major impact on the election outcome. Voters went to the next available candidate, who was obviously going to be Michael D Higgins, and he was duly elected -- and congratulations to him on that.