Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

'Cabinet bug fear' after BBC visit

Government chiefs feared the Cabinet room had been bugged after a BBC camera crew was let in to film

Government chiefs feared the Cabinet room had been bugged after a BBC camera crew was let in to film.

The officials called for the Council Chamber to be swept for listening devices after giving a television team access to the restricted area.

A classified memo from Irish State papers in 1980 revealed concerns over allowing the crew access to such a sensitive meeting room.

"The BBC was filming in the Council Chamber yesterday in connection with the series Sean which is currently being screened by RTE," the memo stated.

"Mr O'Riordain has asked that arrangements be made with the Department of Justice for the gardai to come and have the area checked for bugging devices before the Government meeting next Monday."

Sean was a 13-part drama series based on the autobiographies of Irish writer Sean O'Casey.

The BBC incident was not the only security scare in Government buildings around that time.

A separate memo from the Department of the Taoiseach was headed: "Securing of Taoiseach's suite from access at night."

An Army colonel and a Garda sergeant were called in after suspicions were raised in May 1979 that the Taoiseach's personal rooms were being used by unauthorised people.

But the affair was more innocent than at first feared, as the evidence only pointed to someone going in after hours to make tea and watch television.

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