‘Late Late Show’ criticised over ‘mutilated’ map of Ireland

Mary Lou McDonald leads social media backlash over Dr Eva Orsmond’s map of island

The Late Late Show returned for its new season on Friday night – and immediately caused a storm of protest on social media.

The object of irritation was a map produced to illustrate a piece in which Dr Eva Orsmond spoke about the greater risk of cancer for people who live in deprived areas of the country. Dr Orsmond said less educated people tended to be slow in going to their GPs and as a result had poorer health outcomes.

She mentioned Ballymun in north Dublin where she said waiting lists for diagnostics could be up to two years, by which time cancers could have progressed to lethal levels.

RTÉ displayed a map of Ireland to illustrate the point – but the map was missing the six counties of Northern Ireland.


Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was among the more restrained commentators on Facebook when she wondered what RTÉ was doing showing such a map.

“What is this? What is this all about? Who in RTÉ took it upon themselves to mutilate the map of Ireland. And why?” she asked.

In response some comments were witty; One wit said “tell them I didn’t know Cavan had a coast” a reference to the gray shading which represented the space of the State’s coast as well as the space where Northern Ireland should be.

Other commentators were more outraged describing the deletion of the North as “disgraceful”.

Another commentator took Ms McDonald to task in the words: “In case any of ye are interested in what was going on there, it was a survey of effects on general health an’ life expectancy depending on where you live in the Republic of Ireland referencing, healthcare, education, deprived areas, etc, since the six counties aren’t funded by the Irish Government that’s probably why they weren’t included. But fair play ta Mary Lou, she put up a pic with no real statement about it and still got ye all going . . . again.”

A number of commentators said the image came from a recent census study and was not RTÉ’s original material, but many people who commented on social media were clearly irked.

On Twitter, Alistair Martin asked “Who in the #LateLateShow thought this was a good idea?”

Niall Shannon said “@RTÉ and @thelatelateshow decide that Ireland is missing 6 counties, the national broadcaster, disgrace. #LateLateShow”.

Jim O’Brien @techbuzzireland said: “New map of Ireland folks. Global warming or erosion. #LateLateShow #latelate #Ireland.”

Some of the comments called for a boycott of RTÉ while others were less kind.

In a statement RTÉ said: "This segment of The Late Late Show related to the upcoming documentary Ireland's Health Divide, which includes new research data, based on the 2016 census. As such the map shown on The Late Late Show reflected the counties covered by the 2016 census."

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist