Justine McCarthy asks the (presumably rhetorical) question 'Has Anybody Seen This Man' referring to RTÉ's Washington correspondent Charlie Bird (News, 17 May). Hundreds of thousands of Irish people have indeed seen him, most recently on Monday's television News, and before that on Friday and also on the previous Sunday, covering three different stories from the US.
Justine notes that Charlie was not in Mexico to cover the swine flu story and she also notes that RTÉ is undergoing "swingeing cuts". Perhaps these two points are not unrelated.
Justine also writes that there is "an avalanche of daily news on the domestic agenda" and then is surprised that it is perhaps difficult to get American stories on to the bulletins. Perhaps these two points are also connected.
She expects that RTÉ would have "an insatiable appetite" for Obama stories at the moment. Charlie's recent contributions – including an exclusive interview with secretary of state Hillary Clinton and a report on Morning Ireland on Standard and Poor's latest research on the US housing market – enable us to maintain what is essentially a sensible balance between domestic and foreign news.
So on behalf of RTÉ, Ireland's public-service (not state) broadcaster, let me thank Justine McCarthy and the Sunday Tribune for their concern. Charlie is alive and well in Washington covering the news, making documentaries and appearing regularly on radio and our main television bulletins.