LABOUR councillor and former lord mayor of Dublin Dermot Lacey has compared RTÉ to a student union and has criticised the station for using its own personalities on chat shows and discussion programmes.

According to Lacey, whose constituency covers Montrose, the station needed to "reach beyond [its] narrow circle of friends".

"For many years I have been commenting on the closed and exclusive nature of RTÉ chat shows, current affairs discussion programmes and panel programmes. Any objective analysis will show that the same small group of people dominates... RTÉ should be defined as a place where former student union leaders interview former student union leaders."

An analysis of the station's chat shows revealed guests from within Montrose have featured on almost every episode of the new series of The Late Late Show and frequently on The Saturday Night Show.

An RTÉ?spokeswoman said:?"Cllr Lacey's claims do not bear any resemblance to the actuality of daily and weekly RTÉ programming in which hundreds of different individuals are interviewed and featured on the basis of relevance, currency and public interest."