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Pro-life MEP candidate withdraws action against RTÉ over one minute debate clip

It is the second case to be taken against the broadcaster in the High Court this week.

Image: Daragh Brophy/TheJournal.ie

A EUROPEAN ELECTION candidate who took a High Court action against RTÉ over an upcoming election debate has withdrawn his action. 

Eamonn Murphy, a veteran pro-life activist, took a motion against the broadcaster in a dispute over a one minute video clip that was due to be aired during a live debate programme in the run up to the 24 May election.

The motion went before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Tuesday but notice of proceedings had not been properly filed and the case was put back for hearing this morning. 

The court heard that emails exchanged between RTÉ and Murphy late last night had resolved the issue and the case was struck out.

Following a “conversation with RTÉ yesterday evening” Murphy said he was happy to “withdraw the proceedings.”

Niamh Hyland SC for RTÉ said that no undertakings had been given by RTÉ. 

The broadcaster is set to air three debate shows, based on Ireland’s three constituencies, from Sunday night, beginning with Ireland South. 

The Dublin constituency debate, where Murphy is running, will take place on the Claire Byrne show on Monday night, and the Midlands Northwest constituency debate will take place on Tuesday night. 

Due to the number of candidates, only 19 candidates will participate in live debates, while the remainder have been invited to submit a 60 second clip outlining why they should be elected. 

The criteria for selecting candidates in the live debate is based on previous election performance and the general interest from the public, RTÉ has said.

Yesterday, another MEP candidate, Ben Gilroy lost his High Court action against the broadcaster, which claimed the it was unfair to only select some candidates to appear live on air. 

Gilroy said it favoured some candidates over others and wanted a declaration from RTÉ that it was flawed. 

Mr Justice Senan Allen said RTÉ had set up suitable criteria and his request for declaratory relief, or an admittance of unfairness in their selection process, was not supported in law. 

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