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'I must hold myself to account'- O'Rourke and RTÉ cut ties

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Sean O’Rourke’s broadcasting career with RTÉ is over after Golfgate

Sean O’Rourke’s broadcasting career with RTÉ is over after Golfgate

Sean O’Rourke’s broadcasting career with RTÉ is over after Golfgate

RTÉ has cut its ties with stalwart broadcaster Sean O'Rourke after it emerged that he attended the controversial Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden last Wednesday.

The retired journalist apologised last week for his attendance at the event in Galway, which has seen the resignation of Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary as well as other officials.

However, after a meeting yesterday between the State broadcaster and Mr O'Rourke, it was mutually decided Mr O'Rourke would not proceed with plans for future projects with RTÉ.

A planned Saturday political show he was due to front has been cancelled.

RTÉ thanked him for "his enormous contribution to broadcasting and wish him well with his future plans".

In a statement, Mr O'Rourke said that he must now "hold myself to account".

"I spent many years with RTÉ presenting programmes on which public figures were called to account for their actions.

"Now I must call myself to account. The right course is to set aside our plans for my return to the airwaves."

He previously hosted the 10am-12pm slot on RTÉ Radio One, entitled Today with Sean O'Rourke and Claire Byrne had her first day hosting yesterday. Her first guest was Taoiseach Micheál Martin, whom she grilled about 'golfgate'.

Listeners of the Today programme heard on Friday that Mr O'Rourke was invited to speak regarding his attendance at the dinner. He did not take up the offer. The journalist, who concluded his career at RTÉ in May, wrote on Twitter instead.

Regret

"To those of you wondering what if I was still asking the questions rather than facing them I just want to say: You're right. I should not have been at the dinner," he tweeted.

"I don't have a defence. I was invited to play golf and I really didn't consider it beyond that, other than to assume whatever was happening would be acceptable from a public health point of view," he said.

"I very much regret that lack of thought and interrogation on my part, and I apologise unreservedly for it."