An article in last Saturday’s edition by Breda O’Brien referred to a list of 37 journalists and producers in connection with a pro-choice march saying that it included “some names associated with RTÉ”.
The piece continued: “if you work for a public service broadcaster, how does calling for support for a pro-choice march ‘ensure that in their use of social media they avoid damaging perceptions of their own or RTÉ’s impartiality’?”
RTÉ has pointed out that only one staff producer from RTÉ is on the list and one freelance who contributes to RTÉ, and that the RTÉ staff producer on the list did not tweet support for the march.
Where errors occur, it is the policy of The Irish Times to correct or clarify as soon as practicable. Readers may contact the Readers’ Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter says it is "not an option" to leave out the threat of suicide as a grounds for abortion.
Fine Gael backbenchers are concerned about the inclusion of suicide in the forthcoming expected legislation on abortion in limited circumstances.
Mr Shatter says decision in the Supreme Court in the X case and subsequent court cases are clear on the question on suicide.
"It is not an option to leave it out," he said on RTE's Morning Ireland.
The minister said "the people have been absolutely clear" too in referenda in 1992 and 2002 on this question.
“The Supreme Court is absolutely clear about this issue and the people have been absolutely clear," he said.
Full article by Fionnan Sheahan here
The family of Savita Halappanavar say the Minister for Health, James Reilly, has until Thursday to agree to a public inquiry into her death or else they will take their case the European Court of Human Rights.
The father of the late Ms Halappanavar has made an appeal to the Government to consider a public inquiry.
Speaking from India, Mr Andanappa Yalagi said the family were not happy with the progress made so far. He added that he did not understand, or trust, the HSE investigation.
Dr Reilly has said that when he receives the reports of the two current investigations into her death, he will take whatever action is needed.
Earlier, Mr Reilly said he respects the views of Praveen Halappanavar and his right to do as he sees fit in seeking a different inquiry into his wife's death.
The minister said he has a duty of care to the women of Ireland and the west of Ireland to ensure practices at University Hospital Galway are safe.
He added that he has a duty to reassure them it is a safe place to have a baby and that he has to await the outcome of the internal and HIQA inquiries.
Minister Reilly said he will take whatever action those inquiries demand, but that "in fairness", this was the first maternal death at the Galway hospital in 17 years, and the service there has been safe.
For those of us who don't speak politics, this means the parties vote as a block and not individually, meaning that Fine Gael TDs will all have to vote for the legislation the expert group says is necessary.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out a free vote for Fine Gael TDs on the issue of abortion.
Mr Kenny told reporters that his party had very clear rules and they involved people who were elected, voting in accordance with party decisions.
He was speaking in Cardiff where he is attending a meeting of the British-Irish Council.
Earlier, Junior Minister Brian Hayes said he still felt abortion was an issue on which TDs should be allowed a free vote.
The Dáil debates a motion from the Technical Group this week on abortion.
Mr Kenny also expressed confidence in Health Minister James Reilly, who he described as having taken on an enormous brief.
Meanwhile, Minister Reilly said there is no split between Government parties on how to proceed in dealing with the expert group report on abortion.
He said the Cabinet will only consider the report tomorrow, after which it is hoped there will be a good parliamentary debate with input from all sides.
Mr Reilly said there will hopefully be consensus in the debate on the way forward.
Minister Reilly repeated what he said in the Dáil some months ago, that this is an issue that he will not leave behind him as health minister.
He said that this will not be the seventh government not to take action required to clarify the issue.
Psychiatrist issues suicide decision warning
A leading psychiatrist, specialising in the care of pregnant women, has said legislators need to give "very careful consideration" to who has suffcient qualifications and experience to decide if a pregnant woman is at risk of suicide.
Dr Anthony McCarthy, one of only three perinatal psychiatrists in the country, warned against the introduction of what he called a "tick box" system of deciding whether or not a woman is entitled to an abortion.
Dr McCarthy, a consultant at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, was speaking ahead of the publication of the report of an expert group on abortion tomorrow, which is expected to recommend that two psychiatrists and an obstetrician be involved in cases where suicide poses a risk to the life of a mother.
Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Dr McCarthy said it is important that the risk of suicide is not ignored, or stigmatised. He said while cases are rare, they are real.
He said that one of the most common causes of maternal death in the UK and Ireland is suicide.
He said it is difficult to establish how common the problem is in Ireland, because most women in those circumstances here currently travel to England for an abortion, without presenting for care to professionals here.
"That was the single most horrifically biased TV programme we've ever seen. No pro-choice person; presenter obviously anti-choice; anti-choice spokeperson given far more than her fair share of speaking time; anti-choice spokesperson given entirely free rein to finish up the show. Complain here." - Savita's Laws.
To whom it may concern,
Having watched tonight's Prime Time show I want to lodge a complaint about the programme. The programme was clearly biased and did not constitute an impartial or well-rounded portrayal of the debates and issues concerning abortion and Savita Halappanavar's case. There was no panellist from the pro-choice side of the debate, and no women's rights advocates. The National Women's Council of Ireland, for example, would have made a welcome addition to a discussion that absolutely lacked a women's representative. The programme makers could also have included one of the many women in Ireland who have had a termination. Instead, we had the medical representatives, the pro-life campaigner, and the politician. When will the voices of women who are directly impacted by the issues under discussion be heard?
I expect to hear from you regarding my complaint.
I am writing to complain about the biased nature of this evening's Prime Time report on abortion laws in Ireland. I was very disappointed to see that this extremely important debate was not given the serious and professional attention it requires. Instead, the programme portrayed an obvious Pro-Life agenda.
Firstly, there was a complete absence of a Pro-Choice voice on the round table debate. The table contained two independent medical experts, an opposition party representative, a Pro-Life representative, but, inexplicably, no Pro-Choice representative. Independent medical experts should not count as Pro-Choice representatives. The fact that these experts came across as Pro-Choice simply highlights that logic is on the Pro-Choice side. In addition, the fact that RTE preemptively formatted the panel to adjust for this further demonstrates the biased nature of this program.
Secondly, the presenter was clearly leaning towards the Pro-Life side. This was evident in the disproportional amount of time given to the Pro-Life representative. As if this wasn't enough, the final word in the debate was given to the Pro-Life side. Furthermore, the debate was rushed and time was not allowed for any useful discussion to transpire. This, or course, plays into the Pro-Life bias, as an extended debate would only serve to highlight the gaping holes in their arguments. The Pro-Life assertions were repetitive and uninformed, and yet the medical experts were not allowed adequate time to refute.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to an excerpt from your own website:
RTÉ is obliged under Section 39 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009 to ensure that:
(a) all news broadcast is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster's own views.
(b) the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of his or her own views, except that should it prove impracticable in relation to a single broadcast to apply this paragraph, two or more related broadcasts may be considered as a whole, if the broadcasts are transmitted within a reasonable period of each other.
Do you seriously believe that any of these obligations were fulfilled? As our national broadcaster, RTE has a responsibility to give due respect to all public opinion. It is not acceptable to attempt to force-feed a single conservative agenda to your viewing public.
I await your response.