herald

Saturday 7 December 2019

Mystery of RTE's 'investigative unit'

RTE has claimed that its much heralded 'investigative unit' is still in existence -- despite the fact its website shows no stories for 2012.

The station announced in July 2006 that it was launching the unit under the watch of well-known presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes.

The broadcaster claimed that a full team of journalists was being deployed to the unit in what was seen as major boost to the senior reporter.

Boucher-Hayes was charged with breaking major stories which were to be broadcast on a number of radio programmes including the then named 'Five Seven Live'.

However, in reaction to the Fr Kevin Reynolds scandal, RTE has now announced a new Current Affairs Investigations Unit -- appearing to forget that it already has one.

Asked what happened to the Boucher-Hayes unit, a spokesman said: "This unit was established as announced, and worked productively. It was headed by Philip Boucher-Hayes. The Unit will now be combined into the new working structure as announced yesterday."

The spokesman pointed the Herald to a website on its radio investigation's unit but it shows just a handful of productions. According to the website, the only story it is currently 'investigating' is the deportation of Nigerian woman Pamela Izevbekhai.

Ms Izevbekhai was deported in July of last year along with her two daughters following a lengthy legal battle which ended in the High Court.

Despite initially having a strong level of public support, it was found that the documents in which she based her case for asylum were forged. Boucher-Hayes dedicated major focus to the story -- entitled Seeking Justice From The Justice Department.

Despite seemingly having a team of journalists working under him, the only reporter listed on the unit's site is Cora Ennis. The Offaly woman has worked at Montrose since 1999 in both radio and television.

The investigation team also covered a story entitled Worried About Wifi in which it looked at the effects of mobile phones on people's health. However it lists no stories whatsoever in 2012.

RTE told the Herald today that Boucher-Hayes' investigative unit is still in existence despite the massive revamp announced this week by director general Noel Curran.

hnews@herald.ie

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