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RTÉ Challenges ‘Drug Tolerance’ Claims
20 Dec 2010 :
Gerry Ryan
Following reports that Gerry Ryan had cocaine in his system at the time of his death on April 30th 2010, RTÉ has issued a statement in response to allegations of drug-related activity at RTÉ. In the document the broadcaster rejects any suggestion of tolerance of drug abuse among its workforce or at its premises and claims that RTÉ’s management were unaware of Gerry Ryan’s drug use.

The report also states that RTÉ fully implements its standing policy in respect of drug or alcohol abuse and that any incidence of drug use by staff or at RTÉ’s workplace is unacceptable to RTÉ and is not condoned or tolerated. The broadcaster also makes use of security checks to indicate that there is not unusual activity at the RTÉ workplace in respect of drug abuse, it further explains.

The document also deals with issues raised as to the broadcaster’s coverage of the news of Gerry Ryan’s drug use: ”RTÉ has been criticised over the past week for maintaining what has been described as a silence,it states. ”RTÉ covered the formal proceedings in News programming, as is appropriate. The organisation however, for the most part, refrained from offering comment either on the proceedings or on other coverage or commentary which has flowed from it. This has been largely out of respect for our late colleague and out of sympathy and respect for his family.

”Beyond News coverage there was scope for RTÉ programming in all media, but mainly within the Radio schedules, to engage in discussion about the issues raised by the inquest. RTÉ in its own normal review of programming has considered that coverage within programmes last week of the issues around cocaine consumption in our society was less than it could have been. Some have sought to interpret RTÉ’s coverage as representing a concerted silence on RTÉ’s part. This is not so and it is regrettable that it has seemed so.”

The broadcaster’s statement also mentions the in-house security process where RTÉ’s 2,000 members of staff take part in routine checks carried out by security staff at the Donnybrook premises. The report states that the checks “have been maintained over time and these confirm no ongoing traces of drug-related activity.” However the document does go on to say that: ”Given the size of RTÉ, with many freelances and contractors visiting the main Dublin site and thousands of members of the public visiting each year to attend recordings of programmes, it would be exceptional if occasional instances of drug use did not take place.”

The reports concludes by claiming that RTÉ executives were unaware of Gerry Ryan’s drug use, stating that: ”RTÉ’s management had received no reports or alerts that Gerry Ryan had been taking drugs. It is true that accounts have come forward since the recent inquest offering a view of aspects of Gerry Ryan’s lifestyle in the recent or the more distant past which have shocked some of those closest to him.

”Gerry Ryan has paid the highest price for whatever level of drug use he may have undertaken. While the comment and allegations made about him in recent days cannot now be answered by him, for many RTÉ colleagues and for RTÉ management the shock of his passing and of its circumstances remains.”

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