RTE causes social media storm after ‘mutilated’ map cuts out NI

The map which RTE used to illustrate its feature on cancer risks
The map which RTE used to illustrate its feature on cancer risks

RTE’s use of a map which completely cut out Northern Ireland has provoked a backlash from nationalists.

The map, which featured in Friday night’s Late Late Show, was used during a section by health expert Dr Eva Orsmond, who spoke about the greater risk of cancer for people who live in deprived areas of the country.

Dr Orsmond said less educated people tended to be slow in going to their GPs and as a result had poorer health outcomes.

RTÉ displayed a map of Ireland to illustrate the point – but the map was missing the six counties of Northern Ireland.

Many viewers instantly noticed the glaring omission and took to social media to vent their outrage.

Describing the map as an “aberration”, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald tweeted: “What is this all about? Who took it upon themselves to mutilate the map of Ireland. And why?”

Meanwhile, SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said he was “deeply offended” by the map.

The former environment minister added: “I’m not prone to hyperbole ... and I am not easily offended (I wouldn’t be on Twitter if I was!) but that image really got to me.”

Pointing to fact that the six counties had been replaced on the illustration by what appeared to be the Irish Sea, one witty woman tweeted: “RTE just drowned Seamus Heaney, Mary McAleese, John Hume, Van Morrison, George Best, Liam Neeson, Rory McIlroy...”

In a similar vein, Antrim Camogie Club humorously posted: “Hard luck Antrim U16’s losing an All -Ireland final. You did amazing considering we aren’t even on the map.”

Another outraged commentator asked: “Do I pay my license fee so our ‘national broadcaster’ @rte can amputate my home county and 5 others from the map of Ireland?”

But others, such as loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson, did not see what all the fuss was about.

He tweeted: “Why the big drama about RTE cutting NI out of their map? Two separate sovereign countries. NI is not part of the RoI. It’s pretty simple.”

Echoing Mr Bryson’s comments, another unimpressed Twitter user wrote: “RTE show a map of Ireland and uber nationalists take offence because it leaves out the United Kingdom? Reality can be a painful lesson!”

RTE said the discussion on Friday night’s Late Late Show was previewing Ireland’s Health Divide – a documentary which used data from Ireland’s most recent census.

“The map shown on the Late Late Show reflected the counties covered by the 2016 census,” an RTE spokeswoman said.