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Managing director of RTÉ News apologises for social distancing breaches

RTÉ officials met with gardaí yesterday in relation to the retirement gathering.
Nov 24th 2020, 9:46 AM 21,047 40

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR of RTÉ News Jon Williams has apologised for his failure to observe social distancing guidelines at a retirement gathering at the broadcaster’s headquarters recently.

Some of RTÉ’s most well-known presenters have apologised for breaching social distancing guidelines at the gathering. The broadcaster has said it was a “short impromptu gathering” and that “social distancing was observed overall”.

Williams made his apology as he delivered the John Cunningham Journalism Lecture to NUI Galway students yesterday.

He said he wanted to acknowledge that RTÉ had been in the news rather than making the news recently. He said he had been one of the people pictured failing to observe social distancing and that he deeply regretted it.

“I apologise unreservedly and I am sorry that I failed to do the right thing on this occasion,” he said.

Williams said RTÉ should lead by example and the best way for it to rebuild trust was to continue to “do what we do”.

Gardaí have met with senior RTÉ officials as part of their inquiries into potential coronavirus rule breaches.

Garda inquiries are focusing on whether the gathering was in breach of coronavirus regulations prohibiting the organisation of indoor events involving more than two households.

Failing to socially distance or wear a mask at such an event is not an offence under the regulations.

Following the meeting yesterday, a garda spokesman said the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions would be sought on whether further action was required.

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Michelle Hennessy

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