'My show didn't sustain national obsession with homes' - RTE property host rejects inquiry claim
THE former presenter of an RTE property show named at the Banking Inquiry has rejected a claim that shows like his "sustained the national obsession" with property during the boom.
John McGuire, who fronted I'm an Adult Get Me Out of Here, insisted that the show was "balanced" and promoted renting and affordable housing as well as encouraging participants to buy.
He was reacting to remarks by UCD lecturer Dr Julien Mercille at the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry who criticised RTE as well as print media for fuelling the ill-fated property bubble.
Dr Mercille said that the media gave an "almost invariable upbeat analysis" of the property sector prior to the crash.
"During the boom, RTE sustained the national obsession with houses by presenting programmes like House Hunters in the Sun, Showhouse, About the House and I'm an Adult Get Me Out of Here," he told TDs and Senators.
He said that of 717 shows aired between 2000 and 2007 just 10 had a segment expressing concern at the housing boom.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr McGuire defended his show, which helped grown-ups move out of their parents' homes and began airing in 2005 when the boom was almost at its peak.
"We tried to give a balanced view of the options from renting to affordable housing to property purchase.
"There was, I agree, a national obsession with property but my mandate from RTE was to show a balanced view of the property market and the options within it - it was very definitely not just to do with purchases of property."
Mr McGuire, who currently runs a number of businesses, also admitted that it was tough to convince participants on the show to rent at the time.
"What we tried to do was educate people on the options which were far more than just house purchases.
"It was very difficult, everybody really wanted to purchase property but the show displayed renting and affordable housing as well.
"The whole ethos was to try and explain the options. We really tried to push the renting but I found that quite difficult."
Earlier at the inquiry Dr Mercille - who has written extensively on the role of the media in the European Economic Crisis - answered "yes" when asked by Deputy Kieran O'Donnell if the media had played any role in the bust.
"Overwhelmingly, Irish analysts and institutions, including the media, maintained that there was no bubble and that the boom would eventually end in a 'soft landing'," he said.