INDEPENDENT SENATOR Rónán Mullen has criticised his Oireachtas colleagues who have called on RTÉ’s chairman Tom Savage and director-general Noel Curran to step down in the wake of the Fr Kevin Reynolds affair.
Savage and Curran yesterday faced renewed calls to quit from three members of the Oireachtas’ all-party communications committee, as they attended to answer questions relating to the BAI’s investigation which saw the broadcaster fined €200,000.
Mullen’s Seanad colleague John Whelan of Labour, as well as Fine Gael TD Tom Barry and independent deputy Mattie McGrath, all called for the pair to leave their posts following the editorial failures outlined in the BAI’s inquiry.
Today Mullen said calls to purge RTÉ’s upper management showed “a PR approach to politics at a time of institutional crisis”.
The NUI senator said calls for the duo to quit “serve to deflect attention away from the real issues involved” – which were, he said, the extent to which RTÉ was prepared to combat the “groupthink” identified by the BAI in the national broadcaster.
“Part of this commitment must be to investigate what constituted the groupthink highlighted and whether a culture of bias against Catholicism played a role,” Mullen said.
“Resignations will do nothing to assure the public of such a commitment, they will only serve to perpetuate a PR circus empty of any concern for the quality of public service broadcasting, including investigative journalism.”
Communications minister Pat Rabbitte last night insisted he had full confidence in Curran and in the entire RTÉ board, despite having previously expressed surprise at the litany of editorial failures underlined in the BAI report compiled by former BBC executive Anna Carragher.