RTÉ News Chief Defends News Holidays

RTÉ's Managing Director of News and Current Affairs has tonight defended RTÉ's annual extended holidays. On Twitter he defended the broadcasters annual policy of dropping many of its news and current affairs programmes during holiday periods, such as Christmas and Summertime. The former ABC executive said "The team need a break", the former BBC executive described how "The Oireachtas and the High Court are also still on a break". This defense comes during one of the world's biggest pandemics and when many people in Ireland are out of work due to restrictions, and many of our Nurse, Paramedics and Doctors are all working to save those admitted hospital over the last 7 days, 723 people were admitted to hospital in the first seven days of 2021.

The full statement from Jon Williams, Managing Director of News and Current Affairs, stated on twitter tonight

I don't usual reply to tweets, but this is unfair. The team need a break after working their socks off last year with many extra programms. We've another marathon to come. The Oireachtas, the High Court are also still on a break. Six One was extend last night and on Xmas eve.

A member of the RTÉ Executive Board, Mr. Williams had been Managing Editor at ABC News in New York, prior to this he was a BBC News Editor for their UK news, World News and the Deputy Editor of the BBC's Six O'Clock News.

The tweet failed to point out that the vast majority of people working on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle have worked across the Christmas period, while many others have been out of work for the past year due to COVID-19 restrictions. December's figures showing a 20% unemployment rate.

RTÉ has always had a policy of breaks during the winter and summer months.

In RTÉ Mr. Williams has over seen the cutting of TV news, with no news service between 10pm at night an 1pm the next day and the axing of news on RTÉ2.