In an interesting twist to the ongoing debate about Neil Prendeville’s latest foray into the immigration debate, UTV has offered it’s support for the controversial shock-jock and blamed Cork listeners for racist overtones.
rabble contacted UTV Radio, which holds the broadcasting licence for Cork96FM – Prendeville’s station – following the controversy which was whipped up by Prendeville on Tuesday night when he posted this on the station’s Facebook page –
The Neil Prendeville Show – Tuesday May 14th 2013
We have created a country that is governed by men and women who are motivated by greed and cronyism…. Employing as staff members, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, boyfriends and girlfriends, we have created a country that has people who won’t work now joined by people who cant work, we provide medical cards to Africans while irish children go sick because their working parents can’t afford a doctor’s visit or prescription, we provide social welfare to former Russians and childrens allowance to kids living in eastern Europe…..we have a local government who offer public authority housing to families who turn them down because the gardens are not big enough or its too far from where they grew up, we annually send hundreds of millions of euro of tax payers money all over the world in foreign aid, in many cases to country’s run by corrupt dictators, we pay politicians to go on junkets to the likes of morocco and sign themselves in as present in the dail……. While 500,000 under 25 years olds had to beg borrow or steal the price of a flight and for digs in Australia, England, Canada and America because Ireland couldn’t deliver and paid out €75 billion to overseas gamblers, who lost but still insisted on being paid back their stake. We would teach the Russians the rule book on corruption.
Having explained the situation as it unfolded and included the above quote we asked UTV Radio three simple questions
- Does UTV Radio stand by Prendeville’s remarks?
- Does UTV Radio, as an Equal Opportunity Employer, believe Prendeville represents its policy fairly?
- Does UTV Radio condemn racism?
We received the following, rather unsatisfactory response today from Ronan McManamy, Chief Executive, UTV Radio Ireland:
“Neil’s comments merely summarise recent listener opinion on inequality in Irish society and were but a small part of the on air debate, the comments cannot be viewed in isolation on social media. Neil actively encourages listeners to voice their opinions whether they agree or disagree as the foundation of the show is listener opinions. Neil was not being racist in his remarks and has made that clear on air throughout this debate.”
So dear listeners, it’s not Neil’s fault he’s merely echoing your opinions. Don’t shoot the messenger. But they seem to be rather selective about which listeners they represent…
A source contacted us stating that they had emailed Cork96FM to complain on a number of points. The following contains excerpts of their complaint:
On May 14th, Neil Prendeville published a widely shared statement of his thoughts on government and the systems of the state. This statement in the beginning mentioned ‘Africans’, ‘Former Russians’ and ‘Eastern Europeans’. Mr. Prendeville’s point, I believe, was that these non nationals are better cared for than Ireland’s own citizens, which ought not to be the case in his opinion.
Mr. Prendeville is entirely entitled to this opinion, but his statement held many factual inaccuracies that ought to have been corrected….
I listened to Mr. Prendeville’s broadcast … in which he stood by his statement and asked further questions about the non national population of Ireland. At no point did he or @corks96fm mention any of the tweets or messages I had sent providing correct information; there was no way these could have been missed and I question any editorial decision making that would refuse to verify clarify [sic] facts.
I provided facts regarding the number of asylum seekers in Ireland, their makeup as percentage of population, the truth of their welfare payment (€19.10 a week for adults) and the degenerating conditions in which they are housed in the Direct Provision system. Information was also provided about immigration figures, visa application figures and social welfare structures. Mr. Prendeville stated live on air that all non nationals have a medical card; this was factually incorrect and is much too broad a generalisation to be acceptable.
I contacted 96FM on several occasions through Twitter and Facebook to note these factual inaccuracies… At no point were any of my contacts acknowledged or replied to; at no points were any of the facts I provided read out or engaged with…
On May 15th, I was notified that someone … had contacted the employer of a tweeter who had asked advertisers whether they supported Mr. Prendeville’s statement…I find it an egregious breach of personal privacy that…an employer (can be) contacted for a comment before a person themselves in their private capacity is given the right of reply…The man himself was subjected to numerous allegations by Mr. Prendeville live on air. Mr. Prendeville suggested that he was attempting to ruin business in Cork and potentially lose Mr. Prendeville his job.
Mr. Prendeville later asked this caller if he was a member of the Stasi, and allowed following callers to refer to this man as alike to Hitler, a dictator, making efforts to muzzle Mr. Prendeville.
In response to this the complainant received the following reply from Cork96FM’s CEO Kieran McGeary
Many thanks for your e-mail.
As you will appreciate, this matter has generated significant correspondence and it is impossible to deal with everyone’s complaints individually.
Please be assured that your comments are noted and will be considered as we deal with this matter internally.
Which appears to run contrary to their stated complaint policy that ‘each complaint would be taken on board and acknowledge, as well as being responded to in writing.’
Prendeville courts controversy, this will boost ratings no doubt. We’d love to get your feedback especially the Cork rabble.