On Monday evening, RTÉ crossed a line they never traversed before.

There have been lots of abortion themed prime time programmes on RTÉ in recent decades – the vast majority of which were biased – sometimes terribly so – but at least the pro-life viewpoint was represented, albeit in a tokenistic way.

But Monday evening’s RTÉ Investigates chose a different tack – they didn’t interview a single  pro-life representative. They even went one better than that. Over the course of the entire programme which lasted one hour and five minutes, they didn’t reference a single pro-life point. 

The only time the pro-life side was mentioned was when programme makers and their guests were disparaging pro-life individuals, who in turn weren’t afforded an on air opportunity to defend their reputations and good names. 

In a most egregious display of disregard for impartiality, the programme painted a very dishonest picture of Ireland’s new abortion law to viewers.

No mention of Ireland’s soaring abortion rate. No mention of the obscene reality that happens under the new law where babies that survive late-term abortions are left to die alone in hospital corners without receiving any human warmth or medical care.

The presenter of the programme claimed at the outset that they’d spent seven months making it. Based on what aired, they must have spent the entire seven months working on choreography and optics because their time certainly wasn’t spent producing fair and objective content for viewers.

It was hard going watching such an unbelievably biased programme and many pro-life volunteers were understandably distraught afterwards.

There’s another way, however, of assessing what happened. RTÉ literally threw everything at the programme and still came up short. Seven months of preparation went into it but less than seventy two hours after it aired, it was gone from the headlines.

All things considered, it was a big mistake for RTÉ to broadcast it. It’s the kind of programme they would have been able to get away with in the past. But times have changed. Clearly, there are some people at the station who still haven’t got the message and think it’s business as usual despite all the scandals that have engulfed RTÉ over the past year.

The request we made earlier in the week for a Special Oireachtas Committee to be established to examine editorial bias in RTÉ has already been embraced by several members of the Oireachtas. The disgust felt by so many people over what happened on Monday evening is not going to recede any time soon. RTÉ must be held to account for this appalling programme. 

We will keep the pressure on and not relent until a full and proper investigation into RTÉ Investigates has taken place.