Former RTÉ correspondent Damien Tiernan in row with bosses over regional coverage

Former RTÉ correspondent Damien Tiernan in row with bosses over regional coverage
Damien Tiernan

Former RTÉ reporter Damien Tiernan and the broadcaster's bosses have engaged in a public disagreement over the outlet's regional coverage.

Mr Tiernan, who recently stepped down after 23 years as south-east correspondent, said in an interview with the Sunday Business Post today that one of his reasons for leaving RTÉ was down to the broadcaster's "slashing" of regional coverage.

He claimed that RTÉ news had decreased the number of stories it took from regional correspondents, and criticised its news coverage and cost-cutting methods.

Mr Tiernan provided figures to the Sunday Business Post that the RTÉ studio in Waterford produced 220 stories a year in the early 2000s, but that has since reduced in the last seven years to 50 and 60 stories annually.

Commenting on the claims raised in the article, RTÉ said it did not recognise Mr Tiernan's figures.

The Managing Director of RTÉ News, Jon Williams, further defended the broadcaster's output, saying on Twitter he agreed that RTÉ "has brilliant correspondents".

He said new regional correspondents had been appointed in Dundalk and Belfast, and said Mr Tiernan's comments were an "odd definition of 'slashing'".

He wished Mr Tiernan "every success in his new role".

Mr Tiernan responded to Mr Williams's tweet, saying he was "disgusted, disappointed but not surprised" at RTÉ's refutal of his claims.

"Am disgusted, disappointed but not surprised by RTÉ basically calling me a liar with my figures Jon," he wrote.

"RTÉ does not recognize my figures because RTÉ doesn’t care enough to ask someone to count them. And you were forced re reappoint NE Corr by unions after ye tried to downgrade role."

Mr Tiernan then went on to describe the regional section of the outlet's website and app as "a joke".

He said if Mr Williams wanted "a public spat" then he could "bring it on", and concluded that he loved RTÉ "more than you will ever know".

"If you want to get into a public spat with me bring it on but I have better things to do (like playing an over 35 soccer match); I love RTE more than you will ever know," he wrote.

The reporter opted to take voluntary redundancy after more than two decades at RTÉ and has since taken up the role as the host of Déise Today on Waterford radio station WLR FM.

He told the Sunday Business Post he had earned an annual salary of €90,000 while working in his role.

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