RTÉ has been criticised for not allowing volunteers to speak on a refugee crisis segment that aired on Monday night.
The Claire Byrne Live programme discussed the ongoing refugee crisis in an Irish context, featuring contributions from Ian O’Doherty, Norah Casey, Colin Murphy and Andrew Doyle TD. Viewers and campaigners accused the show of not challenging racist statements or fact checking claims.
Volunteers and campaigners were invited to take part in the show but were not given time to speak.
Tracey Ryan of Cork Calais Refugee Support Group was one volunteer who was not given the opportunity to speak on the night. Speaking on the 96FM Opinion Line today, Ms Ryan called the programme “sensationalist nonsense” and accused RTÉ of having an agenda with the topic, wanting to court controversy to increase interest in the show and trend on social media.
Claims that the family of Aylan Kurdi, a young boy who died while fleeing Syria, travelled because his father wanted dental work in Europe angered the volunteer group. Cllr. Seamus Treanor claimed that 90% of people living in Direct Provision were “bogus”. The group decided to walk off the show when such comments went unchallenged.
“I felt I was on the worst kind of gutter show imaginable,” said Ms Ryan, equating the programme to the Jeremy Kyle Show. “Jeremy Kyle would have probably challenged him!” quipped the presenter.
RTÉ have since released a statement about last night’s programme, apologising for not allowing volunteers to speak.
— Claire Byrne Live (@ClaireByrneLive) September 8, 2015
You can watch a recording of the show on the RTÉ Player.