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BAI Complaints Decisions Released

The decisions made by the BAI's compliance committee on the 26th of April 2017 have been release today (22nd of June). The compliance committee found in favour of The Keith Finnegan Show on Galway Bay FM, while the BAI's executive complaints forum sided with RTÉ's Nine News, News and Current Affairs and The Marian Finucane Show.

January 10th's edition of Galway Bay FM's The Keith Finnegan Show was the subject of complaint by Mr. J. Connelly. Mr. Connelly says that the presenter and guests each used derogatory terms when discussing the issue of homelessness in Galway. Presenter – “those Romanian type of people, indeed, again not being racist…”, Cllr. Noel Larkin referring to homeless people – “they make that decision themselves to sleep there” and later “…if you have to sleep rough on the street, there is, there is some inherent problem there…”, Mr. Martin O’Connor – “In terms of the profile of people who are rough sleeping…. they don’t have habitual residency status in the country.”

Mr. Connelly states that the presenter did not try in anyway to counter Cllr. Larkin or Mr. O'Connor.

The committee rejected the complaint but stated that some of the terms and phrases used by Mr. Finnegan, Cllr. Larkin and Mr. O'Conner where degoratory partiuclarly the phrase “those Romanian type of people”. The committee pointed to a follow up interview with COPE, an organisation that works with the homeless, which was more nuanced than the following interview.

Galway Bay FM states that having reviewed the broadcast with their compliance committee, they believe there is no substance to this complaint and the Mayor of Galway City, Cllr. Noel Larkin, also stands by his statements.

Alliance for the Defence of Family & Marriage made a complaint in relation to a news report on RTÉ TV and Radio on the 5th of September regarding the The Times (Ireland Edition)'s report into the conduct of a Pro-Life pregnancy service. The executive complaints committee sided with RTÉ News and Current Affairs stating that the reports were factual in nature.

Mr. Brendan O’Callaghan made a complaint about a news report on RTÉ Nine News on the 22nd of December. During a news item on the Citizen Assembly on 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution. Mr. O'Callaghan states that the word abortion should not have been used since their is no mention of abortion in the Irish Constitution. RTÉ stated that the use of the word abortion was legitimate as it is understood by the audience that the Citizen Assembly was formed to discuss "the understanding by individuals and organisations with a range of perspectives on the topic that the issue of abortion is at the core of the consideration of this amendment to the Constitution." The execuvitves complaints committee sided with RTÉ stating "The Forum were of the view that the Citizens’ Assembly on the Eight Amendment of the Constitution were tasked with reviewing and reporting on the Eight Amendment, which would by its nature, include a consideration of the issue of abortion. The Forum also noted that the use of the word ‘abortion’ is widely used by all media outlets, whether online or in print and that while the use of language is important when discussing matters of social importance, this word was commonly used to describe the intentional ending of a pregnancy."

The Marian Finucane Show's item on the death of Fidel Castro on RTÉ Raido 1 was the subject of a complaint by Thomas Kirby.

Mr. Kirby states that Ms. Finucane suggested her previous guests opinion on Castro maybe influenced by his marriage to a Cuban.

It was made following the reading out of some texts from listeners - one of which is as follows:

“Marian, I’ve heard [the interviewee] talk on many issues over the years. He is an intelligent and rational man. However, when it comes to Cuba he sees everything through rose-tinted glasses.”

The presenter then says: -

“Well there’s no doubt he’s a great enthusiast for….and to the best of my knowledge he’s also married to a Cuban, so that could influence your thinking too, you know.”

The executive forum sided with RTÉ Radio stating that the remark was made in a light harted manner, much like the rest of the broad interview that was conduction on the show.