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Oireachtas committee wants full report from RTÉ on party breaches

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RTE stars at the farewell bash that sparked a furore

RTE stars at the farewell bash that sparked a furore

RTE stars at the farewell bash that sparked a furore

Politicians will request a statement from RTÉ on the events surrounding a controversial retirement party where high-profile staff were pictured breaching social distancing guidelines.

The Oireachtas Committee on Media and Culture has agreed to request a full report from the national broadcaster on the circumstances surrounding the organisation of the event.

It will also ask RTÉ to outline the measures it is undertaking to review its existing guidelines in light of the controversy.

Members of the Oireachtas committee have privately said they also want assurances from the broadcaster that what happened does not occur again.

High-profile broadcasters including Bryan Dobson, David McCullagh, Eileen Dunne and Miriam O'Callaghan, as well as the station's political correspondent Paul Cunningham, were pictured with a retiring staff member while not observing Covid distancing guidelines.

RTÉ's managing director Jon Williams was also involved.

They have all separately issued public apologies in recent days.

Duty

On Monday, representatives of RTÉ also met with gardaí who are investigating alleged breaches of Covid regulations.

Full public hearings - in which senior RTÉ executives will be invited to face questions from TDs and Senators - have not been ruled out, with committee sources saying it will depend on the contents of the report they have asked for.

The committee met in a private session yesterday to consider the matter.

Its chair Niamh Smyth told the Sunday Independent at the weekend that the committee had a duty to probe the matter. An RTÉ spokesperson said the broadcaster has received approximately 200 emails and 80 calls about the gathering from members of the public since last Friday.

The chairperson of RTÉ's board, Moya Doherty, said the failure to adhere to proper social distancing procedures at the gathering is "of serious concern".

"As has been already acknowledged by the individuals present, there is an onus on all of us in RTÉ to be both above reproach and to lead by example at this time," she said.

Ms Doherty has asked for an update on the matter and the board is to discuss it next week.


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