By Katie Ascough - 22 December, 2019
According to thejournal.ie, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has rejected a complaint from the Catholic Communications Office (CCO) regarding comments by broadcaster Niall Boylan on Classic FM. The CCO claimed that Boylan’s description of funerals and the rosary prayer was an “inversion of the truth, abhorrent to a Catholic audience and to acceptable public norms of radio listening.”
The question under discussion on air that day was, “Is it appropriate to bring a child to a funeral?” Mr Boylan recalled a funeral to which he had once brought his own children and stated that the ritual of reciting the rosary was “almost satanic”. According to the CCO, the overall tone of the programme was negative and disrespectful toward the funeral mass.
The radio station’s defence of Boylan’s comments was that he was not referring to funerals in general, but rather to one particular funeral he had attended and that the comments made were not disrespectful toward the funeral mass or church.
The BAI ruled that the comments were the expression of a personal view and that the audience was likely to expect such comments on that particular show. While the complaint was rejected, the BAI did admit that the presenter’s remarks were negative and disrespectful toward a Catholic audience.
In reaction to the BAI’s rejection of their complaint, Martin Long, Director of the CCO, said, “It is very disappointing when media agendas succeed in trampling over and insulting faith practice. A truly pluralist society ought to respect deeply held religious rituals like the celebration of Mass, and an important prayer such as the Rosary. This decision by the Broadcasting Authority will not, however, deter the CCO from continuing to challenge inaccurate, unfair and offensive media coverage relating to the Catholic Church.”