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RTE failed to truthfully inform the public on Corrib Gas Project

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Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 08.21.21— Shell to Sea send submission on RTE’s Public Service Statement —

12 April 2015

RTÉ – Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster

Shell to Sea have today sent in a submission to RTE as part of RTE’s public consultation on the updating of their Public Service Statement [1]. In the submission, Shell to Sea claimed that RTE had failed to inform the public in an honest and balanced manner on the Corrib Gas project.

In the submission nine examples of RTE bias over the course of the more than decade long community campaign against the Corrib Gas project were highlighted.

One of the examples given related to the so-called “Garda Rape tape” over which RTE were forced by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to issue an apology, after a news item broadcast on July 28th 2011 was deemed by the BAI to be “inaccurate”, “unfair” and “harmful” to a Corrib campaigner. This related to Gardaí being inadvertently recorded joking about threatening to rape the two women who were in their custody. At the time of the incident the Garda Commissioner acknowleged the incident had happened and apologised for the incident occurring. Despite this RTE subsequently attempted to create the impression that the recording of the incident had been “altered” or “tampered with”. [2]

Another example highlighted in the submission quoted retired RTE producer Betty Purcell, who worked with RTE for 33 years.

Betty Purcell stated “I proposed and scheduled in that year [2009] twenty one, “Would you Believe”’s; the only programme where I was called up to offices and matted on was the programme “Living on the Edge” [focused on Willie & Mary Corduff] which provoked fear and investigation by RTE management. …. Within a month of the programme being accepted as ready for broadcast I was moved out of documentaries to the Arts programme ‘The View’ “.   Betty Purcell also claimed that it was her belief that Shell personnel appeared to have ‘automatic access’ to senior management in RTE.

Betty Purcell also stated while speaking at an Airing Erris event in Co Mayo: “Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald commented in “Analysing Media Depictions” and I think it’s a great quote and very relevant to us here “One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, “style” and even mental health of those who challenge them. This method is applied with particular aggression to those who engage in any meaningful dissent against the society’s most powerful factions and their institutions.” And to me that’s exactly what happened in the period between 2005 and right through 2008, 2009, when the real demonisation was going on.”  [3]

Commenting on the RTE submission Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “RTE did little to provide balanced reporting on the Shell/corrib project; it’s no wonder that it’s often referred to as ‘Radio Pravda’ “.

Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated “RTE reporting shows clearly that they weren’t interested in their viewers knowing the facts of what has gone on with the Corrib Gas Project.

The Shell to Sea submission is available at:


For more information contact:      

Maura Harrington:    087 9591474
Terence Conway:     086 0866264!/ShellToSea


The Shell to Sea submission is available at:

[1] RTE Public Service Statement:

[2] RTE ordered to broadcast apology for coverage ‘harmful’ to women in Corrib Garda ‘rape’ recording case – Dublin Shell to Sea – Press Release –

[3] Airing Erris – 18th Jan 2014 – Betty Purcell’s submission starts after 10 minutes –

The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:

1) That any exploitation of the Corrib gas field be done in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health, safety and environmental risks.

2) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.

3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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