herald

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Waters 'asked RTE for €15k donation to SVP'

THE solicitor acting for John Waters said that the columnist only wanted an apology, retraction and a €15,000 donation to charity over the 'Pantigate' saga.

A further war of words has erupted between John Waters and RTE today.

A solicitor acting for Mr Waters said his client and the Iona Institute clients only wanted "an apology, a retraction and nothing else" from RTE following Rory O'Neill's controversial appearance on The Saturday Night Show last month.

Kevin Brophy, the solicitor acting for the columnist, said Mr Waters proposed a €15,000 donation to St Vincent de Paul.

RTE's claim they tried to explore all avenues including an offer of a charitable donation before opting to pay compensation to journalist John Waters in the 'Pantigate' controversy has been slammed as "grossly misleading" by the solicitor.

The national broadcaster paid a total of €85,000 in financial compensation to Mr Waters and members of the Iona Institute following comments made by Rory O'Neill – who acts as Miss Panti – on RTE's Saturday Night Show in which he alleged they were "homophobic". Mr Brophy said RTE paid €40,000 of this amount to Mr Waters.

Mr Brophy said that after the initial interview with Rory O'Neill on Brendan O'Connor's programme, RTE spent "two days conducting an internet trawl in a fruitless attempt to belatedly substantiate" the homophobic claims.

PROPOSED

After this occurred, Mr Brophy said his client proposed the precise wording of an apology before suggesting a €15,000 donation to St Vincent de Paul to mark the seriousness of the defamatory comments.

Mr Brophy said RTE did not accept the wording.

In a statement issued earlier today, Mr Brophy disputed the version of events leading up to the pay-out as outlined by RTE boss Glen Killane.

Earlier this week, Mr Killane, who is the Managing Director of RTE Television, told staff in a memo: "I want to reassure you that RTE explored every option available to it, including right of reply. Legal advice was sought and all avenues were explored, including an offer to make a donation to a neutral charity."

The memo said they took a particular course of action partly because of "the decision by the complainants not to accept RTE's proposed remedies".

But Mr Brophy said this was "grossly misleading".

When contacted, RTE said they were not in a position to offer a response but hoped to do so later today.

hnews@herald.ie

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