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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# Employment
RTÉ presenter who claims she was discriminated against loses Equality Tribunal case
Frances Shanahan presented such shows as Farm News and Countryside.

AN RTE PRESENTER who claimed she was “discriminated against” by the national broadcaster on the grounds of gender and age has failed to win her case at the Equality Tribunal.

Frances Shanahan, who worked on programmes such as Farm News and Countrywide, said that in 1998 she was appointed to a full-time fixed-term staff position with the respondent as a reporter/presenter and that from 1989 to 1999 she was working as a producer on the two programmes.

She said that in 2004 she was not consulted about changes in her role in the Agriculture Department and that in 2006 further changes were announced without consultation, claiming that these changes “favoured a younger male colleague”.

Shanahan claimed that in 2009 her union proposed she should be the stand-by presenter for Countrywide and in March 2010 she joined the Countrywide team but was not given a “meaningful role” she said.

Stand-in presenter

In 2011, she was passed over and not afforded the opportunity to present Countrywide when the regular presenter was on leave, stating that RTÉ went outside the organisation for the stand-in presenter to someone with less radio experience and who was younger than the herself.

Shanahan said as a result of “side-lining” she was consigned to the role of researcher on the Mooney Show and only after she protested was she restored to a role on Countrywide and delivering reports for Drive Time.

However, RTÉ claimed that the resourcing process agreed that regionally based employees, such as Shanahan, would be given roles in mainstream Radio 1 programmes like ‘The Mooney Show’ and as she was based in Galway it was agreed she would work with the programme team on that show.

When she expressed her dissatisfaction with this and it was agreed thatshe would be moved back to the role of presenter for Countrywide and Drivetime.

It was also found that Shanahan had rejected a one-off payment of €1,500 in 2006 and a second offer of €10,000 to settle her salary claims.

In response to the claims RTÉ submitted that Shanahan was not entitled to be put on the producer-in-charge pay scale and denied that this was because she was a woman.

Equality Officer Hugh Lonsdale said Shanahan had withdrawn her claim in relation to equal pay.

The equality officer said the evidence, given by a number of witnesses who were in senior positions with the respondent involved in programming in RTE Radio 1 during the period in question, was that the “complainant was an experienced, knowledgeable and respected reporter/presenter but she was not considered suitable by the Editorial Board to present an hour long live radio programme”.

Lonsdale said Shanahan had failed to establish a “prima facie case” of victimisation and discrimination.

Read: Woman with disabilities awarded €30k after employer refused to provide her with a chair>

Read: School discriminated against a student because he was Protestant>


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