European elections candidate withdraws proceedings against RTÉ

European elections candidate withdraws proceedings against RTÉ

High Court proceedings brought against RTÉ by an independent candidate in this month's European Parliament Elections have been withdrawn.

Eamonn Murphy had previously told the High Court that he was bringing an action arising out of the broadcaster's decision to exclude him from a live debate scheduled to be shown by RTÉ on May 20 next.

Mr Murphy, who is running in the Dublin constituency, had also contested RTE's decision not to broadcast a one-minute video clip submitted by him about his campaign and candidacy.

RTÉ had not shown the video because it was in breach of the both the Broadcasting Act and Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Guidelines, the High Court heard.

His action was listed for hearing before the High Court this morning.

However, during the call over Mr Murphy, who represented himself, told Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds that the matter, following some correspondence between the sides, was being withdrawn.

Mr Murphy told the court he was happy to withdraw the case after he said he had received "undertakings" from RTÉ.

However, Niamh Hyland SC for RTÉ said that no undertakings had been given by RTÉ.

Ms Justice Reynolds then struck out the case.

Mr Murphy's action was one of two cases taken by independent candidates running in the election against RTÉ over its decision not to include them in the live TV debate due to take place days before the May 24 ballot.

In a separate action, heard on Tuesday Mr Justice Senan Allen dismissed a legal challenge brought by Ben Gilroy who is also running in the Dublin Constituency for the European elections.

The Judge said Mr Gilroy's proceedings arising out of RTÉ's decision to exclude him from the live debate, had "no legal basis".

The Judge added that the application was brought by Mr Gilroy in an attempt to enhance his electoral prospects in the election.

In his action, Mr Gilroy had sought various declarations to the effect that the decision to exclude him from the debate is unfair, undemocratic and that he has a right to be heard.

He claimed the decision to exclude him, and other candidates not invited to participate in the programme breach the regulations set out by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland on elections.

The decision, he claimed, meant RTÉ was in breach of its remit as a national broadcaster and gave an unfair advantage to the established politicians and parties who take part in the programmes.

RTÉ denied the claims.

It said its selection criteria for participants, which Mr Gilroy did not meet, were fair, objective and impartial.

It also claimed the application before the court was an attempt by Mr Gilroy to generate publicity to advance his electoral ambitions.

The Judge in dismissing the case said that RTÉ's formatting of the debate was "sensible."

In the circumstances, the court was dismissing the application, and awarded costs against Mr Gilroy in favour of RTÉ.

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