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NUJ demands Irish justice minister withdraws attack on broadcaster

17 June 2011

The NUJ has strongly condemned an attack by Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter on RTÉ crime correspondent Paul Reynolds.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, called on the minister to publicly withdraw the comments made in Templemore, Co. Tipperary, on Thursday regarding the performance of the Irish broadcaster..

The call was endorsed by the RTÉ Trade Union Group (TUG) and by the Dublin Broadcasting branch of the NUJ.

Speaking at a meeting of the TUG, Séamus Dooley said:

"It is unacceptable for the Minister for Justice to launch an attack on the professional integrity or ability of an individual worker. Such a slur would be unacceptable in any circumstance but for the Minister for Justice to make such allegations with no regard for due process is as surprising as it is alarming.
"Mr Shatter clearly finds public scrutiny uncomfortable, but NUJ members and their colleagues in RTÉ will not be intimidated by this type of arrogant behaviour."

The NUJ is to write to the Taoiseach, his deputy and to the minister, seeking a retraction of the comments.

Emma O'Kelly, RTÉ Broadcasting branch chair, said the minister had crossed the line in his comments:

"Mr Shatter is entitled to express his views on the editorial treatment of stories. Journalists have no difficulty in accepting criticism of their work, but, in challenging the competence of Paul Reynolds, the Minister for Justice has sought to damage the professional reputation of an experienced and committed journalist. His colleagues stand beside Paul Reynolds and are genuinely appalled by this attempt at character assassination."

Tags: , broadcasting, rté, alan shatter, paul reynolds, dublin broadcasting branch, government ireland