Joe Brolly "taken off air" during Claire Byrne Live debate on Monday night 1 month ago

Joe Brolly "taken off air" during Claire Byrne Live debate on Monday night

"We simply can’t stand over somebody name calling a person who isn't here to defend themselves and I hope you understand that.”

Joe Brolly was taken off air during a Claire Byrne Live debate about a United Ireland on Monday night following comments he made regarding the DUP.

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Appearing via video link, the barrister and former Gaelic footballer was among those speaking on the prospect of a United Ireland when Claire Byrne asked him not to suggest the DUP were racist or homophobic because there was no representative of the DUP present to refute the allegations.

"What we've seen with Arlene [Foster], Gregory Campbell and Ian Paisley Jr is this short-termism all the time," Brolly said.

“You see them chuckling and guffawing when people are trying to have a serious discussion. Just like we saw Gregory tonight, laughing at the Irish language, laughing at Gaelic sports, the homophobia, the racism, all those things."

At this point Claire Byrne intervened and said Gregory Campbell "might deny some of those charges".

Following a short exchange between Byrne and Brolly, Byrne said: "The man's not here to defend himself and I'm not going to do it for him. I'm going to bring the conversation back into the room now.

"I'm not going to have anyone call people names on this show who are not here to defend themselves and that's final."

Byrne followed up this statement before the next break saying: “I’m sorry that I couldn’t carry on the conversation with Joe Brolly. I have great time for Joe Brolly and great respect for him, that’s why he was invited on the programme. We simply can’t stand over somebody name calling a person who isn't here to defend themselves and I hope you understand that.”

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Writing on Twitter after the show, Brolly wrote: "I was taken off air and told it was because RTE could not risk me saying the DUP were homophobic, racist or sectarian. I must apologise to the DUP at once."

Brolly accompanied the statement with a series of screenshots of news articles. The first of which referred to an Irish Times article about DUP MP Gregory Campbell refusing to apologise for referring to the number of black people on an episode of Songs of Praise as "BBC at it's BLM [Black Lives Matters] worst".

The second screenshot referred to a Guardian article regarding Ian Paisley Jr's comments about gay marriage from 2005.

Earlier on Claire Byrne Live, Gregory Campbell laughed at suggestions a United Ireland is an inevitability and stated it would never happen.

“You just don't get it. We are British. We are British. There is nothing you can say or nothing you can do that will change that,” Campbell said about convincing Unionists a United Ireland Ireland was the way forward.

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