How RTÉ Is Run

Audience Council

RTÉ as the national public broadcasting service,is dedicated to putting the audience first by providing radio and television programmes,in Irish and English, which are of the highest quality, universally available, and which are independent and impartial.

RTÉ announced the establishment of the first Audience Council in November 2003. It comprised 22 members and was appointed for a four year term commencing in January 2004. Following a one year extension, its term of office ended in December 2009The Broadcasting Act 2009 established the RTÉ Audience Council on a statutory basis (S96 pdf - Broadcasting Act 2009). The 15 members are selected by the members of the RTÉ Board taking into account the requirements of the legislation. The RTÉ Board appoints one of its members as an ex officio member of the Council. The members serve in a voluntary capacity, but may receive such out-of-pocket expenses as may be reasonably incurred in the performance of their functions. The Council, which is chaired by Pauric Dempsey, held its inaugural meeting on Thursday, 29 July 2010 and will serve for a period of four years to 31 December 2014. It is intended to provide a voice for the viewers and listeners with regard to RTÉ's output and delivery on its public remit.    

The relationship between the audience and the broadcaster can be very uneven yet good communications between the two are vital for the ongoing development of a truly relevant service. RTÉ is committed to being open to its audience, welcoming all contact, listening to all views, and responding promptly and appropriately. To facilitate communication, and to enhance accountability.

The public interest tests that RTÉ sets for itself include:

  • Fairness
  • Accuracy
  • Impartiality
  • Objectivity
  • Independence from vested interests and freedom from political control or influence
  • High quality schedules available to all (i.e. free to air)
  • A significant proportion of programming originating in Ireland
  • Schedules that include programming for minority groups and interests
  • Schedules that respect the views of the audience and enhance their cultural expectations
  • Programming that recognises regional interests and cultural diversity
  • Programming that encourages understanding and tolerance
  • Programming that is imaginative and original.

All of these tests are in the interest of the audience, and are open to comment and feedback by the audience by e-mailing

Members of the Council

Pauric Dempsey (Chairperson)

  • Head of Communications and Public Affairs in the Royal Irish Academy
  • Previous Producer and Executive Producer programmes on RTÉ Radio programmes including Flashes of Brilliance (2006); Schrodinger’s Cat (2005); Importance of Being Irish (2008)
  • Presenter of such programmes as Making Sense Of It All (2008) and two series of Icons of Irish Science (2005 & 2006).
  • Originator of
  • Originator of the Academy Masterclass series
  • Member of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) and Science Communicators Ireland

Ebun Akpoveta

  • Training and Employment Officer for EPIC
  • Background in Microbiology, went on to study Counselling and is IACP accredited.
  • Graduated from NUIM with a Post Graduate Diploma in Adult Guidance and Counselling and recently completed the Masters.
  • Research topics 'Beyond Integration- an inquiry into the lived experiences of immigrants in Ireland', 'An exploration of the experiences of Black African Men in their transition into the Irish workforce', 'Health needs of people from new communities in the Canal Partnership area'.
  • Board member Canal Communities Intercultural Centre.
  • Volunteer Columnist The African Voice Newspaper
  • Was a presenter at the West Dublin Access Radio
  • Founding member of the Unforgettable woman International 'empowerment seminars for women'.
  • Authored two small books the 'Unforgettable woman' and 'Unquenchable love'
  • Born in Nigeria and living in Ireland since 2002.
  • Married with two sons 7 and 9.

Deirdre Carroll

  • CEO Inclusion Ireland since 2001
  • Has worked in voluntary disability sector for over 20 years
  • Was actively involved in campaign for disability rights
  • Appointed by Mental Health Commission as a lay member of Mental Health Tribunal in 2005
  • B.Soc.Sc. from UCD; MSc. Econ. London School of Economics
  • Born in Dublin; married with 4 children

Gerry Ellis

  • Consultant in area of Accessibility and Usability under the name of Feel The BenefIT
  • Has worked for 30 years as Software Engineer in a Dublin bank
  • Involved both nationally and internationally in organisations concerned with social inclusion of people with disabilities for over 25 years
  • Former member, and current special adviser, to Universal Access Committee of European Disability Forum
  • A former Chairperson of the Irish Council of People with Disabilities (now renamed People with Disabilities in Ireland)
  • Active on boards/sub-committees of various mainstream organisations relating to ICT issues
  • Fellow of the Irish Computer Society
  • Has spoken on disability-related issues at conferences in 20 countries on 4 continents
  • Degree in Economics from UCD
  • Gerry is blind, is married and has 2 young children

Ms Bríd O'Brien

  • Head of Policy & Media, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU)

Donal O’Grady

  • Secondary School teacher since 1976 and School Principal since 1992
  • Former hurling inter county player and manager
  • Has done some hurling analysis on radio and television
  • BA from UCC and H.Dip in Ed.
  • Born in Cork City and married with 2 children

Paddy Richardson

  • Prior to his employment in 2000 with Business In the Community Ireland, Paddy spent almost 20 years as a Services manager for people with mental and physical disabilities, in three Health Board areas.
  • He is currently responsible for 5 Employment programmes; the Linkage programme for ex-offenders, The Gate Service and the Mentoring Service for prisoners, the Ready For Work programme for homeless persons, and the EPIC programme for Immigrants. The objective is to help participants become economically independent by helping them access training, education and employment opportunities appropriate to their needs.
  • As an elected Independent representative, he was, for nine years an executive member of the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland where he had a particular role in the reform of local government and finance and a wide range of social and economic issues relating to marginalised people. He was a member of the Expert Panel on the cross-border project 'PROTECT North & South', between the Probation Board in Northern Ireland and the Probation Service in the Republic of Ireland, which was set up under the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Currently, he is a member of the European Offenders Employment Forum and a Director and Treasurer of the Irish Penal Reform Trust. Paddy holds an MBA from Oxford Brookes University, a Diploma In Management Studies, and a Diploma in Social Policy & Criminology from the Open University. Paddy is an exponent of alternatives to custody and the expungement of sentences in certain categories of offences.

Pat Nolan

  • MA, Dip. European Law, DGov (Doctorate in Governance),
  • Author; Dynamics of Regulation in Ireland: Advocacy, Power and Institutional Interests
  • Lecturer on Financial Regulation, National College of Ireland
  • Lay member, Council of the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland
  • Rapporteur and report writer on public policy issues.
  • Principal Officer in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to February 2012,
  • Employed for 34 years in the Civil Service and the EU Commission, dealing with a wide range of policy issues such as Science and Technology, Regulation of Business, Women’s Affairs, Equality, Northern Ireland, Social Partnership.
  • Main current policy interest is in regulation and governance.
  • Enjoys travel, creative writing, movies and rugby.

Clare Watson

  • Currently researching how human psychology and behaviour affects our response to climate change, peak oil and energy security
  • Graduated from TCD in 1984 with social work degree
  • During late 1980s and 90's coordinated various AIDS education projects including Stories from the Silence documentary and AIDS Quilt Tour 1991
  • Has also worked with a number of environmental and community groups including Greenpeace, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Action Group, Ringsend No to Incineration campaign and Genetic Concern
  • Co-authored "Campaigns and How to Win Them" in 1997
  • Managed The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny, during its early years
  • Living with partner on small organic farm in West Cork since 1999; self sufficient producing most of own food; straw bale house powered by solar panels, wood burning stove and 2 wind generators
  • One 7 year old son and one teenage step-son

Mark Cullinane

Mark Cullinane is a 25-year old student from Co. Meath,

  • Currently working on a PhD thesis in Sociology at University College, Cork on the role played by public service broadcasting in Irish democracy against the background of recent economic, social and political turmoil. Although his research is most directed to the specific role played by news programming in informing citizens about the world around them and shaping public debate, he is also particularly interested in RTÉ's direct relationships with its public: hence his interest in getting involved with the work of the Audience Council. In addition to his thesis topic,
  • Has a  keen interest in broader social policy and issues of social justice.

Please Note: Communiques for the current Audience Council (2010-2014) are availablie in pdf format below. Communiques from previous Audience Councils can be requested by e-mailing

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