Late Late Show reference to ‘refugees’ was “not intended to be offensive”

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

The executive producer of the Late Late Show has responded to a deluge of criticism received over the treatment of the Donegal team on last Friday night’s show and said the reference to “refugees” was intended as “nothing more than well- meant banter” and was not intended to be offensive.

The executive producer of the Late Late Show has responded to a deluge of criticism received over the treatment of the Donegal team on last Friday night’s show and said the reference to “refugees” was intended as “nothing more than well- meant banter” and was not intended to be offensive.

He added the show is genuinely sorry if any offence was taken from the remarks.

Like thousands of other Donegal supporters, one Laghey man was looking forward to the appearance of the Donegal team on last week’s Late Late Show, but also like many viewers in particular from Donegal, he was unhappy at the treatment the All Ireland Champions received during their brief four-minute appearance.

Thomas Kane, fresh food manager at Kee’s Eurospar in Laghey, took it upon himself to make an official complaint to the authorities at Montrose and has since received a reply from the executive producer of the Late Late Show.

Thomas commented: “Apart from the disgraceful treatment shown to Jim and the lads, what followed was perhaps the worst piece of television that I have watched in year. How anyone can claim this to be ‘a good balance between music, comedy, sports, politics, human interest interview’ is beyond me,” he said.

The reply Thomas received reas as follows:

“Thank you for taking the time to make your views known to us. I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed with this segment of the show.

“We were delighted to have had the Donegal football team as our guests on the programme. From time to time, The Late,Late Show marks outstanding achievements in sport and Donegal winning its second All-Ireland Championship twenty years on from it first success was just such an occasion. The Late Late Show does not allocate a slot to the All-Ireland Football Champions annually. In fact, there has been only one other such item in the past four seasons of the show.

“Similarly, the running order, and the duration of each interview, varies depending on the material being used and the guests partaking in the programme on the night in question. In this way, we endeavour to provide a programme that has a good balance between music, comedy, sports, politics, human interest interview and so on. On this night, it was determined that the interviews with members of the Donegal team and its manager should be given a position of prominence and as such, the interviews with the winning Donegal team opened the show. We believe it was a strong opening and we were happy to learn that the team enjoyed their time with us.

“The Late Late Show has a proud tradition of broadcasting a programme that is respectful of and relevant to viewers in all 32 counties. We believe that the topics discussed on the programme over the years have reflected that. In the earlier part of Ryan’s chat with Michael Murphy and Jim McGuinness, there was a lot of cheering and banter from the audience, most particularly from the flag-waving, Donegal supporters present. There was a good atmosphere in the studio and it was in this spirit that Ryan referred to the flags and made his ‘refugees’ remark. This was intended as nothing more than well-meant banter and was, in no way, meant to be offensive. If any offence was taken from these remarks, we are genuinely sorry as that was certainly not what Ryan intended.

“Finally, I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to contact us. We do appreciate all feedback on the show, be it positive or negative.

“Please note however that if you are not satisfied with the response you have received from RTÉ you are entitled to ask the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to review your complaint and the response you have received.”

The letter is singed by John McHugh, executive producer of the Late Late Show.