THE RTE Investigates programme which featured Councillor John O’Donnell appearing to ask for money has won a major award.
Donegal County Council started an investigation in to the embattled Kilmacrennan representative days after he made certain claims while being secretly filmed by the programme which was broadcast last December.
In it, Cllr O’Donnell also appeared to ask for money from an undercover reporter in return for helping a fictitious company develop a wind farm in Donegal.
However, he has always maintained his innocence and even accused the national broadcaster of “deception” and “tricking” him.
A spokesperson for the programme rubbished Cllr O’Donnell’s claims that he was deceived.
Last Friday, at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA), the Best Current Affairs programme was awarded to RTÉ Investigates for its ‘Standards in Public Office’.
Leading Irish talent from entertainment, broadcast and television were in attendance to celebrate the prestigious ceremony, which awarded the highest quality talent and programmes with much coveted IFTA statuettes.
The groundbreaking programme examined the failure of almost 40 per cent of public representatives in Ireland to comply with ethics legislation.
The programme revealed the extent and nature of breaches across the political system, featuring undercover footage of requests for personal rewards to carry out work as a public representative.
Following the programme, several investigations were commenced into the activities of a number of elected representatives. The investigations are ongoing.
The award was picked up by Mr Paul Maguire, Editor of the RTÉ Investigations Unit, Conor Ryan, reporter, and John Cunningham, Producer.
The RTÉ programme won out over BBC Northern Ireland’s programme on NAMA ‘Selling Northern Ireland’, TV3’s Vincent Browne – The Peoples Debate and RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live – Leaders Debate.
This the third year in a row the RTÉ Investigations Unit have won the award, with programmes on the Aras Attracta care home and its investigation into crèches winning previously.