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Gardai meet RTE officials over retirement event controversy

Several high-profile presenters have apologised after images emerged of social distancing breaches


The RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin (PA)

The RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin (PA)

The RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin (PA)

Gardai have met senior RTE officials as part of their inquiries into potential coronavirus rule breaches at a staff social gathering at the broadcaster.

Several high-profile presenters and members of management attended the retirement event in a reception area of RTE TV in Donnybrooke two weeks ago.

Broadcasters Bryan Dobson, David McCullagh, Eileen Dunne and Miriam O’Callaghan have all apologised for errors in judgment after posed photos emerged from the event showing social distancing breaches.

Garda inquiries are focusing on whether the gathering was in breach of coronavirus regulations prohibiting the organisation of indoor events involving more than two households.

Failing to socially distance or wear a mask at such an event is not an offence under the regulations.

Following the meeting, a Garda spokesman said the advice of the DPP would be sought on whether further action was required.

On Monday, the chair of the board of RTE, Moya Doherty, said “failure to adhere to proper social-distancing procedures” at the retirement event was a “matter of serious concern”.

“As has been already acknowledged by the individuals present, there is an onus on all of us in RTE to be both above reproach and to lead by example at this time of exceptional national challenge,” she said.

Eimear Cusack, director of human resources at RTE, said a full health and safety review had been initiated.

“We are all extremely disappointed and frustrated with what has happened, but it is important that we understand what occurred and learn from it.

“Those involved have rightly apologised.”

RTE has also said it is prepared to appear before members of the Oireachtas Communications Committee to answer questions about the event.

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