Reynolds reprimanded by Haughey over pirate interview


Former taoiseach Charles Haughey reprimanded Albert Reynolds for doing an interview with a pirate radio station in 1982 after a complaint from RTÉ’s group of unions.

The minister for industry and energy had been doorstepped by Sunshine Radio during a byelection campaign for “about a minute and a half”, an internal inquiry found.

The taoiseach’s private secretary wrote to the RTÉ trade union group saying Haughey “deplores participation by members of the Government in programmes on pirate radio stations and is taking steps to ensure that this will not occur in future”.

In other correspondence, a Co Tipperary viewer complained to Haughey that RTÉ’s news broadcasts were much longer than the BBC’s. “I think it objectionable to people like me with heart trouble,” he wrote.

A letter from Oliver J Flanagan to RTÉ’s director general in February 1980 was copied to Haughey. The Fine Gael TD complained of an “extreme left” slant and “mainly anti-Catholic attitudes” in RTÉ. “One way to deal with it is to cut out all current affairs programmes for about one year,” he wrote.