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There were 1,277 complaints made about the Claire Byrne Live referendum show

RTÉ said that the vast majority of complaints claimed that the ‘Yes’ side were unfairly treated.

Image: RTÉ Player

RTÉ HAS RECEIVED 1,277 complaints about its Claire Byrne Live Referendum Special programme.

Approximately 92% of the complaints received claimed that the ‘Yes’ side were unfairly treated, RTÉ confirmed to TheJournal.ie.

The show was broadcast on 14 May, a week and a half before the referendum. RTÉ has said that it’s responded to each complaint.

Following the broadcast, there were complaints that the debate was badly organised, with Senator Catherine Noone referring to it as “a circus”.

Members of the Termination For Medical Reasons group who were invited to be in the audience of the show that night had said they intended on complaining to the national broadcaster about how they were treated.

Despite being questioned by programme makers ahead of the show and being seated in the audience, they were not given a chance to share their experiences on air.

In a statement today, RTÉ said that it gave “both the Yes and No campaigns an equal opportunity to air their arguments, which both sides did with commitment and conviction”.

The panel was composed of three speakers on each side of the argument and the audience was completely evenly divided between Yes and No perspectives.

RTÉ said that Claire Byrne “consistently requested” that speakers and audience show respect for each other’s point of view.

Impartial analysis of the programme will demonstrate that, when the number of speakers on each side of the referendum question and the airtime afforded to them are both taken into account, the programme gave an equitable and fair opportunity to both sides to express their views.

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As a national public broadcaster, and as part of broadcasting restrictions related to the referendum, RTÉ has an obligation to give fair and objective coverage of the issue and to give a voice to a wide variety of people.

Around 650,000 viewers tuned into the programme on Monday night, either to watch a part of it or all of it. The average audience increased by up to 53% as the broadcast continued. 359,000 viewers on average watched the full hour and a half programme live on RTÉ One.

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