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The Bad Blood Between Mickey Harte And RTÉ Won't Be Ending Any Time Soon

The Bad Blood Between Mickey Harte And RTÉ Won't Be Ending Any Time Soon
By PJ Browne Updated

RTÉ will be at Celtic Park today as Derry take on Tyrone.

Pre and post-match we will only hear from one manager - Damian Barton.

According to Denis Walsh in the Sunday Times, Mickey Harte is continuing his refusal to be interviewed by the national broadcaster.

It is an impasse now in its fifth year.

Walsh reports RTÉ attempted to heal the bad blood between the two over the winter but a meeting with Harte was not granted to then director general Noel Curran.

The relationship between the Tyrone manager and RTÉ was wounded in 2011 when a letter sent by Harte to Montrose was leaked to journalists. In the letter, Harte had expressed his concern regarding what he saw as Brian Carthy's absence from his role as a GAA commentator. Further to this, RTÉ had broadcast a sketch - on the John Murray Show - about Harte which was viewed as insensitive.

In a statement to RTE in August 2011, Tyrone management explained their position.

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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 after.

Inappropriate references to the fact that the Tyrone manager 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.

The boycott also covers players who, even if they win a Man of the Match award, refuse to give interviews to RTÉ.

Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

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