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RTÉ says it has no plans to scrap The Angelus as it aims to strike a balance on 'diversity of views'

An online petition started this week calling for RTÉ to scrap broadcasting the Angelus.

Image: Shutterstock/Its Ymin

RTÉ HAS SAID it has no plans to cease broadcasting the Angelus, and said it aims to strike a balance in considering the “diversity of views” on the matter while fulfilling its obligations to “reflect the rich and diverse religious culture in Ireland”. 

It also said that polling it has recently commissioned on the topic has shown a majority of people are in favour of the Angelus continuing to be broadcast. 

It comes after the publication of the Mother and Baby Home Commission report earlier this week prompted some to argue that RTÉ should stop playing the Angelus twice a day. 

The one-minute Catholic reflection – aired on RTÉ Radio One at noon and 6pm, and on RTÉ One TV at 6pm – has been in place since the broadcaster’s inception. On TV, it has not featured religious imagery for over 10 years.

An online petition calling for its removal has had over 3,000 sign ups at the time of writing and it’s been backed by Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly who tweeted: “I think we’re ready to have the 6 o’clock news at 6pm.”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, an RTÉ spokesperson said that one complaint had been received this week in relation to the transmission of the Angelus on RTÉ One and RTÉ Radio One.

There had also been 12 calls and emails to RTÉ’s information office at the time of writing, expressing a “range of opinions”. 

The spokesperson said: “RTÉ continues to consider the views expressed by our audience, and by various groups, and aims to strike a balance in considering the diversity of views while fulfilling RTÉ’s obligations under the Broadcasting Act (2009) to reflect the rich and diverse religious culture of Ireland.

“RTÉ has reviewed and revised the format on The Angelus on television over the years, to ensure the slot reflects the culture, including the religious culture, of contemporary Ireland.

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“In 2009, the slot evolved to feature short films depicting a variety of people in moments of reflection, intended to be accessible to people of all faiths and none. The People’s Angelus project, from 2015, continued this evolution, utilising short films made by members of the public.”

The RTÉ spokesperson also pointed to a “recent RedC Poll for RTÉ” which asked if the Angelus should continue to be broadcast.

In response, 68% of people said they’d keep the Angelus, while 21% said they’d stop it. A further 11% refused to say.

The poll referenced comes from an exit poll conducted for RTÉ for the most recent presidential election in October 2018

“The BAI has not upheld any previous complaints,” the spokesperson added. 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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