Prime Time pull another hatchet job on Target Shooting

Well, if you were watching RTE tonight, you pretty much know why a hundred thousand or so people in Ireland are feeling fairly annoyed at the use their TV licence fee has been put to tonight.
The full debacle is up on the RTE player here if you really want to torture yourself more:

But instead, I’d recommend writing an email to Here’s mine in case it’s of any use to you:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I wish to make several complaints regarding the above Prime Time
report, on the grounds that it violated the Broadcasting Act 2009,
Section 39(1)(a) and 39(1)(b). My specific complaints are:

1. That the report failed completely to present to the public the
current state of the firearms licencing laws, including any coverage of
the basic requirements for obtaining a firearms licence or the powers
granted to the Gardai and the duties placed on the Gardai by the law in
relation to firearms licencing and public safety.

2. That the report failed completely to present to the public the
actual proposals which have been made by the Department of Justice
Working Group and which the Joint Oireachtas Committee are considering.

3. That the report failed to make clear that the proposals will only
affect firearms which are solely used for target shooting and that no
proposals have been made regarding the criminal abuse of firearms, or
regarding the minimum security standards for firearms ownership.

4. That the report failed to permit equal time and equal opportunity
for both interviewed guests to make their case, with Deputy McGrath
being allowed to ignore the host and speak over Mr.Egan on several
occasions for a significant period of time.

5. That the report failed to present the evidence which had been sent
to its producer regarding significant flaws in the Garda statistics
which Deputy McGrath mentioned regarding stolen firearms; to wit, that
approximately 1700 firearms had been stolen between 2010 and 2014,
a number which transpired upon the release of the raw data by the
Minister in the Dail on March 3 to include hundreds of items which are
not legally firearms in Ireland and which no reasonable person would
count as a firearm, for example, 12 toy guns, 26 gun safes and so

6. That the report failed to question the Garda statistics from PULSE
given the flaws in the data regarding stolen firearms which the
producer of the report was informed of by email the week prior to the
report, and which Deputy McGrath was informed of by Oireachtas
correspondence the week prior to the report.

7. That the report contrived, with both sinister sounding music and
graphics, to portray the legal ownership of firearms in a negative
light despite a perfect safety record for the firearms under
discussion (see time index 2:20)

8. That the report on several occasions displayed airsoft replicas
which are not firearms in a way which unfairly portrayed legal firearms
ownership (see time index 1:25)

9. That the report used terms such as “gun enthusiast” instead of the
correct term “target shooter”, creating a negative image of the target
shooters being interviewed, who are no more enthusiasts of guns than a
GAA hurling all-star is an enthusiast of sticks (see time index 3:40)

10. That the report portrayed the official scheduled inspection of
the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice to the range at Nurney as a
happenstance casual visit (see time index 3:46) and that the report
made no mention of the members of the Joint Committee who did not
attend this official scheduled inspection nor of the official meeting
with the Gardai at Garda HQ on the same day, including Deputy McGrath.

11. That the report continually gave uninterrupted time to the victims
of criminal acts to elicit an emotional reaction while editing the
statements of other interviewees, despite the fact that the proposals
under discussion do not affect in any way the portions of the Firearms
Act which deal with criminal abuse of firearms (see time index 1:50,
6:20, 7:30).

12. That on several occasions, the report showed footage of firearms
which cannot be legally licenced anywhere in the EU under EU directive
91/477/EEC Section 6 while discussing proposals that only affect the
legal licencing of firearms, thus creating an impression that such
firearms are under discussion when they are not (see time index 7:58)

13. That the report presented figures in a highly misleading context,
stating that there were approximately 200,000 firearms in Ireland
without explaining that this means we have the fourth lowest firearms
ownership rate in the EU (see time index 4:26) and without explaining
that the term “Firearm” in Ireland has a very wide legal definition and
includes many items that the general public would not consider to be
firearms as well as the EU in general, which would lower our ownership
rate even further.

14. That the report presented figures without any form of context
in a manner which created fear in the audience, such as listing the
statistic of approximately 1,800 licenced handguns in Ireland without
the context that this represented a 30% reduction in handgun ownership
compared to the ownership levels before the Gardai refused to licence
pistols in 1972 (unconstitutionally according to the Supreme Court in
Brophy and McCarron) (see time index 4:47)

15. That on several occasions it was alleged or implied that firearms
stolen from licenced firearms owners were used in crime, but at no time
was it made clear that despite repeated requests in the Dail, had any
confirmed case of a stolen handgun being used in crime been recorded
(see time index 5:15)

16. That the report completely failed to discuss the current powers and
obligations on the Gardai with respect to the issuing of firearms and
public safety as laid forth in Section 4(2)(b) of the Firearms Act as
amended and Section 5 of the same act, nor at any time were the Gardai
asked to comment on these powers and duties (see time index 6:20)

17. That Olympic pistol shooting was misrepresented by the report as
having a defined standard pistol, which it does not; indeed many of the
firearms the proposals would affect may be used in the Olympics. This
was not mentioned in the report at all (see time index 8:36)

18. That the report discussed Olympic pistol shooting without any
Olympic shooting expert being interviewed or consulted to confirm facts
presented in the report by non-experts such as Chief Superintendent
Healy who is not an ISSF accredited expert on Olympic target shooting
(see time index 8:40)

19. That the report used unfair editing and voiceover narration to
portray deer stalking in a very negative light (see time index 9:23),
failing to present the reasons for deer stalking, the legislation
governing it, the effects that banning it would have and portraying it
as a casual activity undertaken without significant reason.

20. That the report stated that deer hunting rifles would not be
affected by the Working Group’s proposals which is categorically untrue
as the proposals would introduce new and arguably erroneous or
frivolous grounds to refuse to licence deer hunting rifles (see time
index 10:15)

21. That the report introduced and discussed mass shootings in
Hungerford and Dunblane without discussing their context or details,
ignoring the many issues that the Cullen Inquiry raised with the
Scottish Police in Dunblane and the documented incidents preceding
Hungerford, all of which would have permitted the police to preempt
those shootings under existing legislation (see time index 11:00)

22. That blatent editing was used by the report to cut off an
interviewee while he was attempting to explain the many safeguards
present in existing firearms licencing law, thus giving the impression
to the audience of a less regulated situation than exists in reality
(see time index 13:!3)

23. That the interview permitted the use of unsubstantiated and
incorrect statistics without challange despite the producer having been
informed of the problems with these statistics over a week beforehand
(see time index 15:47, 16:46)

24. That the host of the interview in the report deliberately prevented
Mr.Egan from correcting Deputy McGrath’s use of an incorrect statistic
relating to stolen firearms by saying Mr.Egan would “bamboozle us with
statistics” even though the producer of the report had been informed a
week earlier of the flaws in that statistic as related by the Minister
in the Dail.

25. That at no point in the report was the context for the proposals
presented, including but not limited to the several million euro bill the Gardai are
facing in court costs for over six hundred and fifty lost court cases
regarding licencing; the several supreme court judgement which have
stated that the Gardai and Minister acted unlawfully in regard to
firearms licencing for over thirty years; or the current development
which has seen District Court case appeals being permitted to seek
costs from the Gardai in the event of an applicant being successful in
appealing a licencing decision.

26. That at no point in the report was it presented that firearms
owners played an enormous role in drafting the current legislation
through the Firearms Consultation Panel.

27. That at no point in the report was any mention made nor footage
shown of the Joint Oireachtas Committee hearings on the current
Yours sincerely,

2 thoughts on “Prime Time pull another hatchet job on Target Shooting

  • I fully agree with the above article regarding the rte’s misrepresentation of last nights prime concerning legally held firearms. there is a youtube clip from RT news yes RT, by max keiser on Irelands bail out and Michael noonan, well worth listening to a journalist (economist) from another country telling us to object to paying a tv licence to r.t.e. and not to buy irish newspapers because they do not report the news fairly. well worth listening to how he tells it.

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