NUJ unease at Communications Clinic link to Irish Missionary Union

The Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists has called on the Chairman of the RTÉ Board, Tom Savage, to make a full statement on the involvement of the Communications Clinic in advising the Irish Missionary Union in relation to the Prime Time Investigates programme ‘Mission to Prey’.

In a statement Séamus Dooley said the confirmation that the Irish Missionary Union had been advised by the Communications Clinic raised new questions which members of the Oireachtas committee may wish to raise directly with Mr Savage.

NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley. Photo: Ronan Quinlan

Mr Dooley said: “Last week Mr Savage gave a robust defence of public service broadcasting. His defence of RTÉ and the manner in which he dealt with questions from a number of members was appreciated. As Irish Secretary of the NUJ I was deeply disappointed by the tone of some of the questioning and detected a hostility towards RTÉ and the role of public service broadcasting which was disturbing. RTÉ is answerable to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and to the Minister for Communications and it would appear that some members would like to add an additional, parliamentary tier to the process of regulatory control.

Following the meeting I had hoped that all concerned could move on, allowing RTÉ to face the many challenges which confront the organisation with no further distractions. Unfortunately the revelation that the Irish Missionary Union had been advised by the Communication Clinic raises questions which he needs to address directly. Programme makers have found this latest development deeply uncomfortable.

Failure to do so would not be in the interest of RTÉ and it is essential that Mr Savage, as a Director of the Communications Clinic, deal with this issue as a matter of urgency.”