Morning Ireland coverage: Sport 13 - Environment 1

Environmental stories take up less than 1% of airtime on RTÉ's Morning Ireland - one 13th the airtime devoted to sport - new research shows.

Gluaiseacht, an environmental NGO, analysed two weeks of Morning Ireland broadcasts, separated by six months, in April and October. It was found that environmental stories were covered for only 0.92% of the time, while sports news accounted for 12.41% of the broadcast time, dedicated business news was covered for 5.57% of the time, and Brexit coverage accounted for 10.69% of the broadcast time.[1]

Morning Ireland is the most listened to radio programme in Ireland.

Only one feature story over the two weeks carried an environmental angle, a story about new research into how dandelion seeds fly. However, this story focused largely on how this new research could be used for the building of new drones in the future as opposed to protecting biodiversity.  The rest of the environmental coverage over the two weeks related to stories in the news headlines or in the papers review. 

Commenting on the lack of environmental coverage on Morning Ireland, Gluaiseacht member Eoin Ó Leidhin said, “RTÉ and in this case Morning Ireland are failing to inform the public on environmental and climate change stories.  We have seen from the aftermath of the BBC’s Blue Planet II series and the subsequent plastics campaign what public service broadcasting can achieve in mobilising the population for the common good.  Yet RTÉ haven’t even had a standalone environmental correspondent since 2010, while in comparison they have lots of sports correspondents”.


During one of the shows analysed, the subject of beef exports to China was discussed for over 14 minutes, which included Agriculture & Environment Correspondent George Lee interviewing his former Fine Gael colleague, Minister Michael Creed.  Despite this, none of the significant environmental consequences of opening up beef exports to China was mentioned.


The only mention of climate change over the two weeks analysed was a news headline saying that Donald Trump had accepted that climate change is happening.


Mr Ó Leidhin continued “Sustainability is often broken down into three overlapping areas, economic, environmental and social.  It is clear that Morning Ireland is covering the economic and social areas while neglecting the environmental area.  It would be great to hear a dedicated environmental section on Morning Ireland every morning.


Fellow Gluaiseacht member Tara Sheehy stated:

"On RTE the coverage of sport is generally passionate and honest, precisely because so little is at stake.  In contrast, coverage of the environment is neglected and stifled precisely because so much is at stake and it would mean challenging the status quo, which is currently decimating the planet."

Gluaiseacht is planning to continue its analyses of RTE’s lack of environmental coverage in the coming months.  If you would like to take part then please contact gluaiseacht at



[1]  Excel file with Morning Ireland analysed for the weeks 16/04/18 to 20/04/18 and 15/10/18 to 19/10/18.

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