Whelan calls on RTE Chairman to resign

The Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte has insisted that the RTÉ board retains his full support, despite renewed calls for resignations over the Fr Kevin Reynolds affair.

The Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte has insisted that the RTÉ board retains his full support, despite renewed calls for resignations over the Fr Kevin Reynolds affair.

Yesterday (Tuesday) Labour Senator, John Whelan called on RTÉ chairman, Tom Savage to resign over his handling of the fallout from the Prime Time Investigates programme.

In an Oireachtas communications committee session with the RTE chiefs in Leinster House, Senator Whelan accused Mr Savage of a “glaring” conflict of interest through his role as founder, along with his wife Terry Prone, of public relations firm the Communications Clinic. He told Mr Savage to come down from his ivory tower and reflect on his own conflict of interest.

Senator Whelan accused Mr Savage of taking pre-emptive action by giving an interview to the Sunday Independent in which he said that the final decision for airing the programme was taken by RTE’s Head of News, Ed Mulhall. Senator Whelan said that this occurred at a time when RTE had decided to refrain from comment, while due process was underway.

This amounted to “treachery”, Senator Whelan claimed.

Mr Savage said there was no conflict of interest between his two roles, and stated he had acted ethically at all times, with no involvement in the day-to-day operations of the broadcaster.

A spokesman for Mr Rabbitte reiterated that his position with respect to RTÉ had not changed. However, he said the Minister would consider any matters the committee wished to draw to his attention.