BAI investigation flawed, says NUJ

The National Union of Journalists said yesterday it was not satisfied with aspects of the investigation process and did not accept many of the conclusions reached by investigator Anna Carragher in respect of its members, Aoife Kavanagh and Ken O’Shea.

NUJ’s Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley said: “We do not accept the claim made by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in the statement of findings that the rights of individuals were not prejudiced by the publication of the unamended executive summary before our members had an opportunity to correct the draft report.

“We believe that the report of the investigation officer is incomplete because she did not seek to interview representatives of the RTÉ legal department who were central to the decision making process.

“The board states that the findings are ‘directed to the broadcaster, RTÉ’. They are not — and should not be understood as — a sanction imposed on or a statement of culpability of the individuals involved in the making of the programme.

“The Authority has no such power and no such intention.

“This comment highlights significant procedural issues and raises fundamental issues of due process. The findings are clearly damaging to the professional reputation of individuals and the Investigation Officer made specific findings on matters not put directly to named individuals during the interview process.

“The NUJ re-iterates our concerns expressed in submissions to the BAI and we would welcome publication of this submission by the BAI.”

Mr Dooley said the NUJ co-operated fully with the investigation. “On behalf of Ms Kavanagh and Mr O’Shea we again express regret at the treatment of Fr Kevin Reynolds and reiterate the apologies already offered to him,” he said.

“We also recognise the implications for RTÉ of this mistake and accept that lessons will have to be learned from what has happened.”

He said it was regrettable Ms Carragher did not accept many of the issues he had raised, “including corrections sought in the draft executive summary which contained factual inaccuracies”.

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