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BAI backs Miriam O'Callaghan in presidential debate row

Martin McGuinness had accused the presenter of treating him unfairly during the Prime Time candidates’ debate.

McGuinness at RTÉ studios for the Prime Time debate
McGuinness at RTÉ studios for the Prime Time debate
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A WATCHDOG HAS rejected suggestions that Miriam O’Callaghan treated then-presidential candidate Martin McGuinness unjustly in a Prime Time debate.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland received a number of complaints about the handling of the RTÉ debate, which was shown in the closing weeks of last year’s presidential campaign.

During the debate last October, McGuinness accused O’Callaghan of making “a disgraceful comment” when she referred to his links with past IRA crimes.

The Sinn Féin politician said afterwards that he felt the show was “unfair”, saying he was “disappointed in the way the Prime Time debate was handled”.

However, the BAI today rejected complaints about O’Callaghan’s conduct.

A spokesman told TheJournal.ie that the Authority had received ten complaints on the matter, but none had been upheld. However, the full decision will not be published until next month.

RTÉ and all those who complained have been notified about the ruling.

- Additional reporting by Sinead O’Carroll

Read: Gallagher complains to BAI over ‘game-changing’ tweet>

More: Full coverage of the presidential election aftermath on TheJournal.ie>

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Michael Freeman

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