RTÉ pulled a planned Late Late Show appearance by Andrew McGinley after members of his wife's family objected to the interview because it would be too painful for them.
Mr McGinley was due to speak on the show about his children, Conor, Darragh and Carla, who were killed by their mother Deirdre Morley last year, and the charities he had set up in their memory during a planned appearance on October 8th. But the State broadcaster decided to cancel the interview.
He was planning to talk about a charity raffle for a Daniel O’Donnell concert for his As Darragh Did charity and a Snowman for Carla colouring competition in memory of his daughter, in addition to the Conor’s Clips project that he has established in honour of his son.
It emerged on Wednesday that some members of Ms Morley’s family contacted RTÉ in advance to object about his planned appearance.
The broadcaster later told Mr McGinley via a phone call and a letter that the timing of the interview would have “too painful an experience” for some members of the wider Morley family and that it was “appropriate” to listen and reflect on their views.
Ms Morley was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering her three children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3). Their bodies were discovered at the family home in Newcastle, Co Dublin, on January 24th, 2020. She had attempted to take her own life after the killings.
The paediatric nurse was found to be suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the three killings. She has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital.
Mr McGinley said he was upset that his planned appearance on the Late Late Show was cancelled because it would have been an opportunity for a small charity to promote upcoming events.
He said he never intended to talk on the programme about anything that would have caused distress or pain and did not understand the grounds for cancelling his appearance.
“It was never my intention to cause any upset or any hurt or anything else. I just want to keep Conor, Daragh and Carla’s memories alive. I want the world to know they existed and I cannot understand how anybody would find that to be upsetting,” he told The Irish Times.
He said that he had received messages of support from Ms Morley’s wider family for his charitable work and that he was upset that this seemed to have caused a split within her family.
An RTÉ spokeswoman said that it understood “the immense grief of Mr McGinley and the sensitivities around this tragedy” and that it was obliged to adhere to Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) codes “when dealing with such sensitive issues”.
Obligations under BAI code
Members of Ms Morley’s family contacted, and later met, the broadcaster to discuss their case as to why the interview should not proceed.
The broadcaster said it had not commented “on the specifics of our contacts with Mr McGinley” and that it “also respected the confidentiality of the representations we received from other family members”.
“RTÉ gave due consideration to all of this in light of our obligations under the relevant BAI codes and understand it is extremely sensitive,” said the spokeswoman.
It is understood that the broadcaster decided not to proceed with the interview on the basis that representation from some members of Ms Morley’s family fell under its obligation to adhere to the “protection from harm” principle of the BAI code of programme standards.
Principle three of the code recognises that there are “some viewers and listeners who, by virtue of their age, particular circumstances or vulnerability, may be in need of special consideration”.
Mr McGinley said that he could not see how his planned interview and discussion about charitable work could be perceived as causing harm to anyone.
“I don’t see how a charity launch is harmful to anybody. I don’t see how a colouring competition is harmful to anybody,” he said.