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RTÉ journalists describe ‘anger’ at Denis O’Brien’s attendance at leaving do in letter to station bosses

7th May 2021

RTÉ JOURNALISTS HAVE written to the broadcaster’s bosses to express their anger following businessman Denis O’Brien’s attendance at a leaving party for outgoing Northern Editor Tommie Gorman. a sign on the side of a building©

The chair of the NUJ’s broadcasting branch, Emma O’Kelly, sent the letter to RTÉ’s director-general, Dee Forbes, as well as RTÉ News’ managing director, Jon Williams, on behalf of the union’s members. 

In it, she wrote that members of the NUJ were “perplexed” as to why O’Brien had attended the virtual leaving do.

The letter states: “Mr O’Brien’s actions over many years have been inimical to the interests of public service journalism. His attendance has attracted public comment and has been perceived as granting him a special standing in line with distinguished guests who were present at the function.”

Also in attendance at the leaving party was Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who later said he did not realise O’Brien was scheduled to attend. 

The letter goes on to remind Williams and Forbes of “Mr O’Brien’s hostile attitude towards the work of RTÉ journalists”.

“Members who attended have expressed the view that they would not have done so had they known that Mr O’Brien would be present,” the letter added.

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