A COMPLAINT BY a listener over an on-air monologue by Cork radio presenter Neil Prendeville has been partially upheld by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
In his regular weekday programme on Cork’s 96FM in May, Prendeville read out a long pre-prepared statement on the state of the country, covering everything from cronyism in politics to the public service and its staffing and cuts in social welfare.
It included the following passage:
“We provide medical cards to Africans while Irish children go sick because their working parents can’t afford a doctor’s visit or prescription.
“We provide social welfare to former Russians and children’s allowance to kids living in eastern Europe.”
A complaint submitted to the BAI contended that the lengthy speech included “vile accusations, laced with prejudice and with no veracity in reality whatsoever”.
The listener also contended that the presenter “puts non-Irish members of society at risk by associating them with what has taken place in this country over the previous five years”.
The complaint continued: “This is nothing more than a racist accusation which belies the reality of the situation”.
In a ruling today, the BAI’s Compliance Committee found that the pre-prepared statement by Prendeville “was evidently lacking in impartiality or objectivity and was not counterbalanced by an alternative perspective on the presenter’s statement”.
The second part of the complaint, contending that the remarks would support discrimination, was not upheld, with the BAI stating:
While the presenter’s remarks about non-Irish members of society may have offended some listeners, the Committee did not agree that they would support or condone discrimination contrary to the requirement of the Code of Programme Standards in the manner suggested by the complainant.
The authority also found that the complaint hadn’t been handled properly by the radio station, as it wasn’t dealt with according to their established Code of Practice, even though it was sent to the correct email address for complaints.
Cork’s 96fm will have to air the BAI’s decision on the complaint in the coming days.
A spokesperson for the authority told TheJournal.ie that it was standard in such cases to broadcast the finding of the complaints committee at around the same time of day as the airing of the initial content.
Prendeville presents the high-profile 9am – midday weekday slot on the Cork station.
The presenter made national headlines three years ago after complaints that he had exposed himself on an Aer Lingus flight.