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Dublin: 17 °C Saturday 4 July, 2020

RTÉ board to meet following BAI ruling on Frontline tweet

RTÉ chairman Tom Savage will convene the broadcaster’s board, while a Sean Gallagher spokesman doesn’t rule out legal action.

RTÉ’S BOARD is to hold a special meeting tomorrow morning to discuss the findings of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which yesterday upheld a complaint by former presidential candidate Seán Gallagher.

The authority upheld a complaint made by Gallagher regarding a tweet which was referred to in the live presidential debate on The Frontline, three days in advance of polling for the Presidential election, and again on Today with Pat Kenny on Radio 1 the next day.

The tweet had been attributed by Pat Kenny to the “Martin McGuinness for President” Twitter account, an attribution which the BAI said was “unfair to Gallagher”.

Gallagher was unsuccessful, however, in seeking an investigation or public hearings into how what he described as a “controversial and bogus tweet”. The BAI also said it could not force RTÉ to apologise.

In a statement last night RTÉ chairman Tom Savage said he accepted the BAI’s “thoroughly considered decisions, which merit close attention”.

He said he would convene the RTÉ Board tomorrow morning for that purpose, when it would “deliberate on the findings and discuss the matter in full”.

A spokesman for Gallagher this morning said the businessman would not be taking any more action on the matter, or issuing any more comment, before RTÉ fulfilled its obligation to broadcast the BAI’s findings.

He added, however, that he was “happy with what has been reported” this morning, referring to reports that Gallagher had not yet ruled out legal action over RTÉ’s actions.

Yesterday evening RTÉ director general Noel Curran apologised to Gallagher on RTÉ’s behalf.

“Any failure or shortcoming which could reduce that trust around major national events must be regarded seriously and we must address all issues which arise for us in respect of mistakes made,” he said.

Curran said the broadcaster was formalising a new set of guidelines to reinforce procedures on how information from social media and other sources would be authenticated.

Read: RTÉ director general apologises to Gallagher over Frontline ‘mistakes’ >

More: BAI upholds Gallagher complaint over Frontline tweet >

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Gavan Reilly

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