Oireachtas committee not 'looking for heads on stakes at Donnybrook' over RTÉ event

Oireachtas committee not 'looking for heads on stakes at Donnybrook' over RTÉ event

Vivienne Clarke

Wexford Senator Malcolm Byrne has said that the Oireachtas Media and Culture committee was not “looking for heads on stakes at Donnybrook” over the controversy of staff photographed not observing social distancing guidelines at a retirement event in the station.

A number of RTÉ's top stars have apologised for their attendance at the event.

Among those present were Byran Dobson, David McCullagh and Miriam O'Callaghan, who have all apologised for what they described as an error in judgement.


An invitation was likely to be extended to the director-general of RTÉ, Dee Forbes, following a meeting of the committee on Wednesday, Mr Byrne said.

It was important that RTÉ was committed to public health guidelines and learned from their mistake. The public needed the reassurance that the same rules applied to RTÉ, he added.

The onus was on RTÉ management to provide clarity over what had happened, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“It was wrong, it shouldn’t have happened.”

Sincere apologies


While the apologies from the presenters who had been photographed had been sincere, he said, RTÉ needed to reassure people that the problem was being reviewed.

“Part of the problem is that RTÉ has not come out and explained what happened. If this had involved someone in politics and someone was not available to comment, RTÉ would be all over it,” he said, referring to the fact that Morning Ireland had sought a spokesperson, but that was told that none was available.

On Friday, RTÉ said it takes public health advice “with the utmost seriousness and has implemented detailed workplace protocols which have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic”.

It added: “These have been essential in keeping staff and visitors/programme guests safe whilst on site.


“Because of the measures taken by RTÉ, no cases of Covid-19 have so far been transmitted on campus.”

They said the event should not have happened and has reminded staff of their obligations to follow public health advice.