RTÉ review into retirement party finds five breaches of Covid-19 protocols

Last month, a number of RTÉ's top stars and managing director of RTÉ News Jon Williams were photographed at a gathering where social distancing rules appeared to have been breached.
RTÉ review into retirement party finds five breaches of Covid-19 protocols

Stars who attended the gathering included Bryan Dobson, Miriam O'Callaghan and David McCullagh.

A health and safety review conducted by RTÉ into a retirement party that took place at the Donnybrook campus has found that five breaches occurred.

Last month, a number of RTÉ's top stars and managing director of RTÉ News Jon Williams were photographed at a gathering where social distancing rules appeared to have been breached.

The broadcaster has conducted a review into the incident and found that there were: three breaches of Covid-19 public health advice, one breach of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions and a breach in RTÉ's internal Covid-19 protocols.

The breaches identified by the RTÉ Health and Safety Review are:

  • Some people did not maintain social distancing during the gathering.
  • Where the two meters social distance was breached, some people were not wearing face coverings.
  • There was a breach of the requirement to avoid crowded places.
  • There was a breach of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 as there should not have been any indoor gathering which does not form part of RTÉ’s delivery of an essential service.
  • There was a breach of internal RTÉ Covid-19 Protocols for visitors to our site.

Recommendations made by the review include those who were present at the gathering are to retake RTÉ's Covid-19 induction training, implementation of a communications plan to reinforce the broadcaster's Covid-19 protocols, a review of visitor access and protocols and a discussion of findings and lessons learned with RTÉ's Covid-19 representatives.

There will also be an ongoing review of RTÉ's Covid-19 protocols and RTÉ has said it will implement the findings of the review in full.

A Garda inquiry is also underway into whether there were any breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

RTÉ Director General, Dee Forbes, today said the breaches should not have occurred and said as Director General she is sorry that it happened.

"What makes this all the more disappointing is that this incident is not representative of the way our staff conduct their work in general, which is to be absolutely diligent in relation to public health guidelines and Covid-19 protocols."

She said that across all productions since the pandemic began, there has been a commitment to ensuring the safety of everyone who visits RTÉ.

However, on this occasion, we fell short of our own standards. It is essential that we all learn from this and that none of us is complacent about the risks of Covid-19.

"We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and others."

RTÉ said it remains committed to taking all steps necessary to maintain a safe working environment while delivering essential services to the public.

Stars who attended the gathering included Miriam O'Callaghan, Bryan Dobson, David McCullagh, Paul Cunningham, Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh and Eileen Dunne.

Those involved apologised for their attendance at the retirement party for a long-time colleague.

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