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Socialist/AAA TDs Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Joe Higgins Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Not so red after all

Unsurprisingly, the Socialists don't think RTÉ is biased in favour of them

Labour claims that the national broadcaster

THE SOCIALISTS HAVE accused Labour of trying to “gag” the anti-water charges campaign as people begin to receive their bills.

Paul Murphy said that far from being biased in favour of his party and movement, RTÉ has given platforms to Irish Water and the government “to use as infomercials for water charges”.

Several Labour party ministers, including the Tánaiste Joan Burton, have criticised the national broadcaster in recent days claiming that it has been too focussed on the anti-water charges movement.

Yesterday, Burton told reporters that RTÉ’s “sense of excitement” about the issue “seemed to mean that their focus was almost exclusively on the people who are making a case about not paying”.

Last week, former communications minister Pat Rabbitte accused he broadcaster of acting like “recruiting sergeant” for the far left and Sinn Féin.

But RTÉ has rejected claims of bias and imbalance:

The Socialists, also known as the Anti-Austerity Alliance, have hit back today.

“The fact of the matter is that this is an orchestrated campaign to exert pressure on RTE in an attempt to gag anti-water charges campaigners as we enter this critical period of weeks when bills are dropping,” Dublin West TD Ruth Coppinger said.

She claimed the majority of people in the country are opposed to water charges and said those people should be allowed hear their representatives on the national broadcaster.

Dublin South-West TD Murphy said the government, and Labour in particular, is attempting to stop the AAA from getting its message out and said any alleged imbalances are contradicted by evidence.

The [Irish] Independent found yesterday that of 35 guests on RTE 19 were opposed to water charges and 16 were from the government. A newspaper article yesterday highlights an episode of Prime Time from February 10th that had 3 pro-water charge Labour TDs against one from the anti-side.

Murphy also claimed that Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Irish Water spokesperson Elizabeth Arnett “have been given platforms at RTE to use as infomercials for water charges”.

He said people are now sceptical of the media because of “the role which they have played over the course of this campaign and the crisis in general as cheer leaders for austerity”.

Read: Joan Burton thinks RTÉ got a bit too excited about the water protests (but RTÉ doesn’t agree)

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