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RTÉ did not know Aodhan Ó Ríordáin was wearing an equality pin

The Minister was said to only have put on the badge shortly before going on air.

RTÉ WAS NOT aware that Aodhan Ó Ríordáin was wearing an equality pin before going on air.

An incident on the Saturday Night Show saw host Brendan O’Connor interrupt the Junior Minister halfway through a response to a question about his career as a school teacher to ask him to remove a Yes equality pin.

The State broadcaster has said that the Equality Minister was asked to remove the pin once it came to their attention and that they had not been aware of it prior to him going on.

Aodhan O Riordan Source: RTÉ

(Credit: RTÉ)

A source has said that the Minister only put on the badge shortly before going on air and had not been wearing it backstage.

In the exchange O’Connor stopped the Labour Minister mid-sentence, asking him, “can you take off that pin? The pin you’re wearing on your collar.”

Ó Ríordáin then removed the pin, saying, “It’s a Yes pin.”

“You just made it worse,” responded O’Connor before using the word ‘no’, reasoning that it was to balance the Minister’s ‘yes’.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, RTÉ said:

The pin was not seen in advance of transmission; once it was seen, the Minister was asked to remove it, which he did.  RTÉ is required by its own guidelines as well as broadcasting legislation and codes to broadcast fair coverage of the referendums.  Obviously, on television this includes visual material.

The incident subsequently sparked a reaction on Twitter, with the hashtag #PinGate trending.

After the show, Ó Ríordáin tweeted a picture of himself holding the pin, later saying that he had given it away.

-Additional reporting by Christine Bohan and Órla Ryan. 

Read: Sister Stan will be voting Yes in the same-sex marriage referendum 

Also: Catholic leaders are out in force arguing against same-sex marriage

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