Sinn Féin disowns attack on RTÉ
The union has welcomed the party's disavowal of comments on the funding of RTÉ.
UPDATE: The union has welcomed Sinn Féin’s disavowal of the comments. In response to the union's press release this afternoon, a party official has confirmed to Séamus Dooley that the comments do not represent Sinn Féin policy.
The National Union of Journalists called on Sinn Féin to disown comments made by a senior party councillor regarding the funding of RTÉ.
In a Facebook post, Caroline Dwane Stanley, a member of Laois County Council and a party nominee to the EU Committee of the Regions called for the removal of all public funds to RTÉ. She posted a headline on her Facebook page that showed her husband was on course to having a surplus of 5,000 votes in last February's General Election. Underneath the headline, she commented:
"Stick that in your pipe RTÉ, FG and Irish Independent Gutter paper".
In an additional comment beneath the post she added:
"When SF get into Government one of the first things it should do is remove all public funds from RTÉ."
"End there (sic) extortionate pay."
Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, National Union of Journalists said:
"Cllr Dwane Stanley is a senior Sinn Fein councillor who represents the party at local authority and EU level. She has served as a public representative since 2011 when she was co-opted and has twice been elected to Laois County Council.
"While she is entitled to her view on the media, her demand for defunding of RTÉ based on coverage of matters of legitimate public interest is irrational and should be disowned by Sinn Féin. Ireland has largely avoided the Trump-like attempts to intimidate the media and Sinn Féin should make it clear that it does not approve of this stance.
"Deputy Brian Stanley’s public tweets and the political reaction to the tweets were and remain matters of public interest. National and local politicians have an obligation to treat workers with respect and that includes those who work in the media – even if their activities are uncomfortable.
"As Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Deputy Brian Stanley was supportive of public service broadcasting. On a personal and professional basis, he showed a willingness to engage with the NUJ. Likewise, I have personal knowledge of his strong support for the Yes Equality campaign during the Marriage Equality referendum. That record does not give him or his supporters a free pass when it comes to media scrutiny and I hope that Cllr Stanley will reconsider her ill-advised comments."