The Tyrone Gaelic football team and its legendary manager Mickey Harte are boycotting Irish state broadcaster RTE because they claim the network has been insensitive to the memory of Harte’s daughter Michaela, who was brutally murdered on her honeymoon in Mauritius in January.
According to a report in The Irish Times, the problem between the Tyrone side and RTE has its origins in a letter that Harte co-signed to the broadcaster asking that radio commentator Brian Carthy be given more time on the airwaves. The letter, Harte alleges, was leaked by RTE, and he and his family have been on the receiving end of hurtful RTE barbs ever since.
In particular, Harte and Tyrone have taken issue with RTE Radio 1 broadcaster John Murray, who poked fun at Harte’s visit with the Dalai Lama in Limerick in April as part of a skit on the contents of the letter about Carthy.
The Dalai Lama was in Ireland to present a lecture to victims of violence on the power of forgiveness, and Harte attended the event with Michaela’s widower John McAreavey.
“Inappropriate references to the fact that the Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was associated with the Dalai 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 (Harte)’s husband John McAreavey, in what remains for them a very difficult time,” said a statement from Harte and the Tyrone squad.
“We hope that this statement clarifies for the general public why Mickey Harte, his management team and the players have chosen not to cooperate with RTE at this time. Interviews with all other media outlets will continue as before.”
The skit was broadcast by Murray on June 10, and has since been taken off the RTE website and YouTube. The broadcaster has apologized and says it hopes to resume relations with Harte and his team.
“It is never RTE’s intention to knowingly offend any individual,” the broadcaster said in a statement, “and RTE sincerely regrets any offense caused. This sincere regret was immediately and personally communicated to Harte by RTE management.
“It is RTE’s hope that, in the public interest of all those who follow Gaelic games, the matter can be resolved."