29 September 2005

Harney attacked over McDowell criticism of RTÉ


29/09/2005 - 11:54:36

The Tánaiste Mary Harney has come under attack in the Dáil over the Minister for Justice's criticism of RTÉ last night.

Michael McDowell accused the national broadcaster of airing a deliberately biased and misleading documentary this week about the Government's purchase of a site for a new 'super-prison' in Dublin.

RTÉ has rejected the accusation and has pointed out that the minister declined an invitation to speak on the programme.

The documentary claimed the Department of Justice paid €30m for the site in north Co Dublin when a nearby location was available at a lower cost.

Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte attempted to ask Ms Harney if she regarded RTÉ as an arm of the Government, but his efforts were blocked by the Ceann Comhairle.

"€30m for a farm worth €6m and what we get is a series of threats against RTE," he said.

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Ardagh later defended the purchase of the site at Thornton Hall and accused the opposition of criticising everything without putting forward any alternatives.

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