Taoiseach says he "got it wrong" about unaired Shane Ross interview 3 months ago

Taoiseach says he "got it wrong" about unaired Shane Ross interview

Micheál Martin previously claimed that Sinn Féin received an advance copy of the interview surrounding a book about Mary Lou McDonald.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he "got it wrong" surrounding details of an unaired RTÉ interview with Shane Ross.

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The Fianna Fáil leader acknowledged the discrepancy while appearing on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Thursday (13 October).

"I got that wrong in terms of the access. I said 'apparently'," Martin said. He reiterated, however, that when "political parties, when people start suing the national broadcaster it does have a chilling effect".

"It is a bit hard to look at the Shane Ross saga in isolation and to say there is no connection between that and the fact that RTÉ is being sued and there is a defamation case against them," said the Taoiseach.

"It does have a chilling effect on media and broadcasters."

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The controversial interview in question was recorded for Today with Claire Byrne in relation to Ross' new biography of Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil on Tuesday:

"Apparently a political party got access to the interview to listen to it.

"I don't think I was ever afforded that opportunity as a leader of the opposition ever. Why RTÉ decided not to publish it is a matter that needs explanation."

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In a statement to JOE on Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for RTÉ said:

"Broadcasters have editorial independence to decide what they cover and broadcast. That is a principle the BAI acknowledge.

"With many competing stories and items each day, it is not unusual for a pre-recorded interview not to be broadcast.

"In this instance, the decision not to broadcast was an editorial decision and was not influenced by any legal issues.

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"RTÉ can also confirm that no one was given access to the recorded interview.”

Sinn Féin also denied receiving a copy of the interview, saying that "It is highly unusual for the Fianna Fáil leader to use Dáil time in this way; particularly when his information is completely incorrect."