The Tyrone County Board have issued a statement on behalf of Mickey Harte and the senior footballers, clarifying their refusal to grant interviews with RTÉ Television and Radio this summer.
Harte has not made himself available to the state broadcaster since expressing his concern over the treatment of radio commentator Brian Carthy earlier this year. Harte felt that the reporter should have been given more airtime and the opportunity to call some of the more high profile games.
An interview Harte gave on Carthy issue was then used during a comedy sketch on the John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1. The statement from Tyrone GAA said that the piece showed a ‘complete lack of sensitivity’ to the Harte family and his late daughter Michaela’s husband John McAreavey.
The Tyrone statement read: “A number of weeks ago, the senior football manager, in conjunction with several other GAA managers, wrote a letter marked ‘private and confidential’ to two senior people within the RTÉ organisation.
“In this letter, Mickey Harte expressed his own and a number of other managers’ concern at the disproportionate absence of Brian Carthy from his role as a radio commentator. The contents of the letter made their way into the public domain and the managers concerned can categorically state that they were not the source of that leak.
“Due to the portrayal of the said letter, at least one other broadcaster within the organisation acted in a most insensitive manner in the choice of their programme dialogue in a morning radio show soon
“Inappropriate references to the fact that Mickey Harte was associated with the Dali Lama conference in Limerick and the choice of the song ‘Pretty Little Girl from Omagh’ will give you an indication of the complete lack of sensitivity the presenter in question afforded the Harte family and Michaela’s husband John McAreavey, in what remains for them a very difficult time.
“We hope that this statement clarifies for the general public why Mickey Harte, his management team and the players have chosen not to co-operate with RTÉ at this time. Interviews with all other media outlets will continue as before.”
A statement issued yesterday by RTÉ explained: “RTÉ Radio 1′s John Murray Show presents, each morning, a satirical and humorous synopsis of the day’s big news stories. On June 9 the programme covered a widely-reported controversy involving Mickey Harte.
“RTÉ understands and appreciates that the item offended Mickey Harte. It is never RTÉ’s intention to knowingly offend any individual, and RTÉ sincerely regrets any offence caused. This sincere regret was immediately and personally communicated to Mickey Harte by RTÉ management.”
It added: “RTÉ wishes to clarify that it did not leak the contents of the letter referred to in the statement by the Tyrone GAA senior football management and players. RTÉ treated the correspondence as private and confidential, and was mindful of the need for discretion in all public statements it was called upon to make.
“It is RTÉ’s hope that, in the public interest of all those who follow Gaelic games, the matter can be resolved.”