RTÉ’s ‘Oireachtas Report’ must cover Seanad, David Norris says

Senator says broadcast has a duty, ‘however vapid they may consider’ the Upper House

Senator David Norris has said that RTÉ’s Oireachtas Report programme is obliged to report on the Seanad. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Senator David Norris has said that RTÉ’s Oireachtas Report programme is obliged to report on the Seanad. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Senator David Norris has said that RTÉ’s Oireachtas Report programme is obliged to report on the Seanad, “however vapid they may consider our proceedings”.

He called on Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer to write to “the television people” to tell them they were obliged to broadcast the work of the Seanad.

The Trinity Senator said he did not normally watch the late-night TV programme, which covers proceedings in the Dáil and Seanad.

However, he said that the night before he could not sleep and turned on Oireachtas Report, “but there was no sign whatever of Seanad Éireann; not mentioned, not referred to, might as well not have existed.

He called on Mr Buttimer to “write to the television people and say that, however vapid they may consider our proceedings . . . I still think there is an obligation on them to reflect the full Oireachtas”.

He said the Seanad should always be reflected, saying: “I really think this is a serious matter when it’s not recorded at all.”

‘Drunks and insomniacs’

Former Labour leader and minister Pat Rabbitte described the programme as one watched by “drunks and insomniacs”.

Mr Buttimer agreed that Oireachtas Report should include all of the Oireachtas, whether it was the committees, the Dáil chamber or the Seanad.

“Yesterday, we had a fine debate on health and we also had statements.

“This morning some of the newspapers reported that there was a minute’s silence in the Dáil for the late Jo Cox, but failed to mention that we had the same in the Seanad.”