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Andrew McGinley: RTÉ explanation for dropping Late Late Show invite 'doesn’t add up'

'To be invited on was massive, then to have it pulled away — when I think about the amount of money we could have raised for Darragh’s charity'
Doting Dad Andrew McGinley with his children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3)

Doting Dad Andrew McGinley with his children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3)

Maeve Sheehan

Andrew McGinley said that he yet to be invited to a meeting with RTÉ about its decision to drop him from the Late Late Show last month.

The grieving father said he was still “hurting” over the move and cannot understand how the broadcaster managed to arrive at such a decision.

He was invited on the show on October 8 to launch a charity event in honour of his three children, who were killed by their mother, Deirdre Morley, at their Dublin home in January last year.

“To be invited on was massive, then to have it pulled away — when I think about the amount of money we could have raised for Darragh’s charity ‘As Darragh Did’ which helps keep all their names alive,” he said.

RTÉ told Mr McGinley it had received a letter which said “it could be a painful and traumatic experience” to see him talking about Conor, Darragh and Carla on The Late Late Show.

It emerged last week that the letter came from Deirdre Morley’s family.

Andrew and children Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley

Andrew and children Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley

Yesterday, Mr McGinley said his wife, Ms Morley, was aware generally of his wish to speak about the children and the charity he has founded in their memory.

“Dee knows I’m doing these projects in memory of the kids. Her only comment was that I don’t use her picture on ‘Conor’s Clips’ or on Twitter or social media. She knows I’m doing interviews and speaking,” he said.

“Her only ask is that I don’t include any photographs of Deirdre on anything I’m doing with ‘Conor’s Clips’, I never have, and I won’t,” he said.

The other request, through her legal team, was that he would not disclose anything in her medical records that was not already in the public domain. “Again, I never have and I never will,” he said.

He said he is in almost constant contact with Ms Morley’s treating team, but finds it difficult to interact with her directly.

He said the one line that sticks with him from the trial was when his eldest boy Conor said: “Mum, stop”, before she killed him. “I can’t get that out of my head,” he said. Mr McGinley said his Late Late Show appearance was simply about launching a charity. The segment of the show was to be pre-recorded, he said, which made RTÉ’s decision harder to understand.

“I feel there is something not right here. I just want to chat about the kids. And I feel I do need to speak about mental health in the hope that changes can be made,” he said.

He said he was to announce a two-hour concert by Daniel O’Donnell to be held next June in Newcastle, where the family lived and where “the community were so good to me”.

“There are so many people who rallied around and supported me. By the time I had thanked everybody, that would have been my 15 minutes up on the Late Late Show,” he said. RTÉ said it was following Broadcasting Authority Ireland (BAI) Codes and had explained its reasoning to Mr McGinley.

“RTÉ is obliged to adhere to BAI [Broadcasting Authority of Ireland] codes when dealing with such sensitive issues,” it said. “RTÉ spoke to Mr McGinley and also wrote to him a number of weeks ago explaining our reasons not to proceed with the planned interview on The Late Late Show on Friday, October 8.

“We have not commented on the specifics of our contacts with Mr McGinley. We have also respected the confidentiality of representations 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.

Mr McGinley said: “The reason I was given was that under the BAI code the sensitive nature of what I could be talking about would be potentially traumatic for the people who wrote in. It doesn’t matter that I was invited on to speak about the charity launch and the colouring competition and a kid’s Youtube channel,” he said. “They don’t add up.”

Ahead of the funeral in January, 2020, Mr McGinley said he received requests to film from inside the church in Newcastle but he turned them down.

He said he found it “hard to square” those requests to record what would have been a very graphic and grief filled funeral” with later sensitivities around talking about his children’s charities.

The five things he wants to move forward with are projects to honour and remember his children: “They are ‘As Dara Did’, ‘Snowman for Carla’ and ‘Conor’s Clips’, and the books I am going to write using the characters that Conor and Darragh created. They are four legacy projects in memory of Conor, Darragh and Carla,” he said. “ I do want to talk about the Mental Health Act.”

Ms Morley was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering nine-year-old Conor, seven-year-old Darragh and three-year-old Carla. She was found have had a mental disorder at the time.

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