The Irish state broadcaster RTE has admitted that the tweet which changed the course of the Presidential election was false.
Bosses at the television station have confirmed that a tweet relating to Presidential hopeful Sean Gallagher was bogus.
The tweet, purporting to come from Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness, made reference to Gallagher’s dealings with Fianna Fail.
The tweet was referred to by presenter Pat Kenny during a live debate between the candidates.
Independent candidate Gallagher subsequently lost the election to Labor’s Michael D Higgins.
Gallagher has since made a formal complaint to Ireland’s Broadcasting Authority and has threatened legal action against the station.
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RTE has now admitted to the Broadcasting Authority that the tweet was bogus and has expressed its regret over the broadcast.
The Irish Times reports that RTE is resisting Gallagher’s claims that it failed to broadcast corrective information when it could have.
Gallagher has pointed out that a tweet from the real McGuinness campaign, which made it clear that it was not the source of the earlier bogus tweet, was received several minutes later but was not broadcast.
The former Fianna Fail member says no attempt was made by RTE to convey this information to its audience when the second tweet arrived 28 minutes before the end of the programme.
RTE has now responded in writing to Gallagher’s formal complaint.
The broadcaster’s letter to the Authority said: “What was inaccurate, and RTÉ accepted this and has expressed its regret, was the provenance of the tweet.
“It appears that the tweet which purported to come from the official Martin McGuinness campaign site was actually a bogus account made to look like the official account.”
A spokesman for Gallagher told the Irish Times that he is actively pursuing his complaint that ‘RTE’s broadcast was not presented in a fair, objective or impartial manner’.
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