Belfast Telegraph

RTE apologises for map that left out Northern Ireland

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Irish state broadcaster RTE has made an apology after broadcasting a map that appeared to omit the six counties of Northern Ireland.

The apology was made by the executive producer of RTE's The Late Late show John McMahon in a letter sent to a number of politicians, one of which was Sinn Fein MP for West Tyrone Barry McElduff.

The map was used for illustrative purposes during a feature about poverty and health in the Republic on September 1, with Dr Eva Orsmond speaking about cancer risks for people living in deprived areas.

Speaking about the apology, Mr McElduff said: "Why did people take exception? Well people are fed up of being written out of the script in the north. Of being excluded by RTE, of this creeping partitionism.

"So today I have received a letter from John McMahon, the executive producer of RTE's The Late Late Show, and what I will say is that I will continue to monitor this type of thing within RTE and to complain when it arises."

In his letter, Mr McMahon said that the map had been created from "data received from the Republic of Ireland census", and that it was not intended as a geographical representation of the country.

"All I can do is assure you that it was not an intentional slight on our audience north of the border and I apologise for the upset caused to viewers both there and in the Republic," he wrote.

The move was also welcomed by SDLP Foyle MLA Mark Durkan who said: "The erasure of the north from a map displaying income inequality across the island was totally disrespectful and offensive to RTÉ’s broad audience here.

"I’m pleased that the broadcaster has now recognised the deeply offensive nature of the error and apologised for the disrespect caused.

"I hope that lessons will be learned."

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