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06th Feb 2018

An RTE Show Has Been Accused Of Giving Teenagers ‘Pre-Drinking Tips’


The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) released its latest report today of allll the complaints it has received in the past year on Irish radio and TV shows. 

Most of them are fairly standard (people complaining about the Eucharist, anti-choice complaints on the media’s representation of the 8th Amendment, yada yada yada) but one complaint stood out for being so, well, ridiculous. 

A Mr. Shane Doyle wrote in to the BAI to complain about an RTE Radio 1 Documentary that aired on August 12, 2017. Love Letter To Wezz was a 40 minute long radio documentary that looked at the lives of the young people who spent their teenage years in the famous Wezz Disco at the Old Wesley Rugby Club in Donnybrook, Dublin. 

The reason why Mr. Doyle complained? He thought the programme was giving teenagers tips on how to pre-drink… 

Yes, for real. The BAI report says that: “the complainant states that during this documentary, while reminiscing about the Wesley disco, known as The Wezz, tips were provided to 12 to 14 year olds on how to pre-drink, either by topping up parents stock with water or asking an older teen to purchase alcohol in an off-license.” 

RTE responded to the complaint saying that it was a show aimed at adults and with an “overwhelmingly adult audience”

RTE also said that “the references to acquiring alcohol contained no
novel information or information which would not be commonplace in the public domain.”

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The BAI rejected the complaint – out of 40 minutes just 1 minutes and 53 seconds discussed alcohol

Their view that there was
not an undue focus on alcohol and to ignore this aspect of people’s experience would
have been to leave out an important part of the reality of disco attendance at that time.

The BAI also stated that the documentary was broadcast at a time and on a station aimed at an adult audience and
is unlikely to have had many 12 to 14 year old listeners. 

Where do these people find the time to complain about such things? Anyone who thinks a teenager is listening to an RTE radio show to pick up pre-drinking tips clearly doesn’t know the first thing about teenagers…

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