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Snap unhappy RTÉ stars apologise for briefly breaking social distance guidelines during office gathering

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Bryan Dobson with RTE staff member Phil Collins

Bryan Dobson with RTE staff member Phil Collins

Bryan Dobson with RTE staff member Phil Collins

Some of RTÉ’s top stars have issued grovelling apologies after it emerged they had briefly posed for photos at a colleague’s leaving party, ignoring social distance guidelines. 

After months of grilling top politicians on public health issues, News at One's Bryan Dobson, Prime Time's Miriam O’Callaghan, and David McCullagh were left red faced when these embarrassing pictures were published on RTÉ’s internal newsletter.

The embarrassing snaps were taken at an impromptu gathering for RTÉ staff member Phil Collins who was leaving the company.

All three broadcasters were seen embracing or standing side by side with other members of RTÉ in the foyer of the Television building.

None of them appear to be wearing masks in any of the pictures.

The state broadcaster last night confirmed a “small number” of officials and on-screen talent attended a low-key party held on the Montrose site earlier this month.

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Miriam O'Callaghan (right) was also at the bash

Miriam O'Callaghan (right) was also at the bash

Miriam O'Callaghan (right) was also at the bash

All three presenters have apologised and an RTÉ spokesperson said that both “RTÉ and those involved regret this occurred."

The images have since been taken down from the online system.

Political Correspondent Paul Cunningham, Nine O’Clock News presenter Eileen Dunne, RTÉ News Managing Director Jon Williams, RTÉ News Deputy MD Hilary McGouran and presenter Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh were also pictured at the “short impromptu gathering”.

"RTE and those involved regret this occurred . . . Over the last few days we reminded all staff of their obligations to keep themselves and the site safe,” the broadcaster said in a statement to the Irish Sun.

Health experts urged those in the public eye to set a “good example”.

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Eileen Dunne with Phil Collins

Eileen Dunne with Phil Collins

Eileen Dunne with Phil Collins

On Morning Ireland today presenter Mary Wilson said the RTÉ incident was “a good example” of the complacency Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan is trying to make the public aware of.

HSE boss Paul Reid said he always tries “to avoid demonising people” but added that he knows of a separate example where eight people attended a meeting in recent days without masks and all eight later tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Reid urged people to continue doing the basics such as practicing social distancing and wearing face masks as he pointed out while the country has made “good progress” in the last four weeks, “there is still some way to go”.

Mr Reid said it was “imperative” rates of transmission of the virus are lowered before the country leaves Level Five restrictions in December.

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