Tuesday 19 March 2019

Claire Byrne: 'I would have asked Sonia O'Sullivan about tickets scandal'

Claire Byrne in 'Weekend' magazine Photo: Naomi Gaffey
Claire Byrne in 'Weekend' magazine Photo: Naomi Gaffey
Fiona Ness

Fiona Ness

Broadcaster Claire Byrne has said she would have asked Sonia O'Sullivan about the Rio ticketing scandal when she appeared as a pundit on RTÉ's Olympics coverage.

There was controversy over State broadcaster's RTÉ's failure to ask Olympic Council of Ireland board member O'Sullivan to comment on the Rio ticket-touting allegations.

But Byrne says she "would have to have asked the question".

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Byrne said that as a public service broadcaster "you have to ask the question everyone is screaming at the TV for you to ask, but it has to be fair and it can't be personally insulting".

She added: "I would have said to producers, 'We have to ask the question and let her (Sonia) say, "I can't talk about that" for whatever reason'.

"But there may have been reasons why that was not done. I don't know and I'm not privy to that."

Ms O'Sullivan later broke her silence on the controversy in a newspaper column, where she said: "I have never been interested in the administration and so it was as much a shock to me as anyone when the Olympic Council of Ireland was drawn into the ticketing issues in Rio.

"There have been many news reporters wanting to speak to me and I have not spoken to anyone because, until the investigations have run their course, I won't know any more than what's being written in the papers, or else spoken through the news."

She added: "This story has been sensationalised and currently there is no proof or evidence to tell the full story. That can only come with time."

In the interview, published in 'Weekend' magazine today, Ms Byrne also speaks about marshalling political leaders on TV before the general election, her low-key wedding ceremony, and juggling working life with her children.

Irish Independent

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