RTE won’t allow Miriam O’Callaghan to interview younger brother Jim

RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan. Photo: David Conachy
RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan. Photo: David Conachy

Top RTE presenter Miriam O’Callaghan has been barred from interviewing her younger brother on the national broadcaster.

The Prime Time host’s sibling, Jim O’Callaghan, is a key figure on the Fianna Fail front bench.

But his appearances on RTE’s flagship current affairs programmes are limited due to his connections with Ms O’Callaghan.

The Dublin Bay South TD can appear on Prime Time, but cannot be quizzed by his sister on the latest political controversies.

Jim O'Callaghan. Photo: Tom BurkeJim O'Callaghan. Photo: Tom Burke

Jim O’Callaghan. Photo: Tom Burke

He is also currently off limits as a guest for the Today With Sean O’Rourke programme on RTE Radio One which Ms O’Callaghan is fronting for the summer months.

“It would be best practice in any organisation, that no news or current affairs presenter would interview a close relative,” said a RTE spokesperson.

“The decision regarding who a presenter would interview in any programme, would be made by the programme editor or producer.”

Within Fianna Fail, Mr O’Callaghan, who also works as a barrister, is considered a confident and competent media performer.

The spokesman on justice and equality was famously sent out to appear on the Six One News late last year to declare his party had no confidence in then Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

He was first elected to the Dail in 2016, but is regularly talked about as a potential successor to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

The 50-year-old has played rugby at a senior level, representing UCD, Cambridge University, London Irish, Wanderers, Leinster and Connacht.

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He was also capped for Ireland at Under-21 level.

Miriam O’Callaghan has long been one of RTE’s key journalists, but has recently had to refute that she has political ambitions of her own.

She was linked with a run for the presidency in October’s election, but eventually ruled herself out after allowing speculation to mount for months.

“Thank the Lord I’m not in it,” she said earlier this week.

“I have been covering the campaign on the radio virtually every day and it’s such a tough contest.”

Asked if she would consider taking part in a future election, the mother-of-eight said she hasn’t thought about it.

“That’s so far away… I am not one of those people who plans years, or even months, in advance.”

Ms O’Callaghan has taken a break from her summer chat show this year to focus on other projects, including a documentary 1968: The Long March, which aired last night.

She is also co-hosting programmes on the visit of Pope Francis later this month before returning to Prime Time duties in September.

Read more: ‘I like politics, I also like Love Island, I like sport’ – Miriam O’Callaghan enjoying mix on O’Rourke’s radio show


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