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boycott Tommie Gorman says breakdown in the relationship between Mickey Harte and RTÉ 'saddens' him

The relationship soured after Harte thought playing 'Little Girl From Omagh' in an RTÉ sketch about him was distasteful after the murder of his daughter

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Tommie Gorman

Tommie Gorman

Tommie Gorman

Former RTÉ Northern Editor Tommie Gorman said the breakdown in the relationship between Mickey Harte and the national broadcaster is something which “saddens me”.

Mr Gorman, who spent 41 years with RTÉ, covered the tragic murder of Michaela Harte in Mauritius in 2011.

Mickey Harte, the former Tyrone manager, boycotted RTÉ after the station broadcast a sketch about Harte on John Murray’s radio show, which featured a clip from the song ‘The Little Girl from Omagh’. Harte took this to be insensitive in the wake of his daughter’s death after she was murdered on her honeymoon just five months earlier.

Tyrone GAA refused to carry out any interviews with RTÉ as a result.

Mr Gorman spent weeks in Mauritius covering the murder trial in 2012.

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Former long-time Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Former long-time Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Former long-time Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Speaking at the Kennedy Summer School on Friday night - where he reflected on his career in a conversation with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern - Mr Gorman said: “One of the regrets of my life is that subsequently there was a breakdown in the relationship with Mickey Harte and RTÉ. It saddens me and I have nothing but respect and sympathy for them as people.”

Mr Gorman served as RTÉ’s Northern Western correspondent, Europe Editor and Northern Editor during a career which spanned four decades.

In a turning of the tables, he was interviewed by former Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern at St Michael’s Theatre in New Ross on the second day of the Kennedy Summer School.

Mr Ahern asked him about his famous interview with Roy Keane during the Saipan controversy in 2002.

He believes it was a “tragedy” that Roy Keane didn’t play for Ireland in the World Cup.

“Keane is a gladiator. He had really exacting standards and demanded them off other people because he demanded them off himself. He was at a stage in his career where he knew there wasn’t going to be a better chance.

I think when he was confronted by the possibility of missing an opportunity and being mediocre or haphazard… I think it’s a tragedy he didn’t play in that World Cup. I think we would have done a lot better.

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“I was watching him the other night with Gary Neville and I don’t know if he would ever make a successful football manager. I don’t know if someone with his standards or record could pass on that magic. I don’t know if he has the patience to put up with the way modern players are allowed to behave.”

Mr Gorman said his move to RTÉ was like a “dream come true” as he believed the national broadcaster took a chance on him because he didn’t have that much broadcast experience.

“From local newspapers, to be trusted as North Western correspondent. I never worked at headquarters and then they sent me to Brussels, that was like going from a local team to a national team to an international team. That was a pinch me time. You’re so conscious of the trust and the good fortune. It was an opportunity to give something back to my parents.”

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