Watch: TV3's Vincent Browne accuses SIPTU boss of 'stunt' after he walks off show live on air
Watch clip below
Published 03/04/2015 | 09:18
Siptu president Jack O’Connor today defended his decision to walk off the show and said that it was not a premeditated move.
“Once I asked Vincent Brown the question of whether TV3 respect their employees rights in collective bargaining, and he replied by saying he didn’t’ think so, I realised then that it was impossible for me as a trade union leader to remain on the programme, because to do so would be to legitimatise it,” Mr O’Connor told Independent.ie.
Despite having a robust argument with the veteran broadcaster live on air, Mr O’Connor said that he “bears no will” towards him.
“He has been a very critical voice in Ireland, and a very progressive journalist. I don’t bear any ill towards him personally at all, anything but,” he added.
Last night TV3 broadcaster Vincent Browne accused SIPTU boss Jack O'Connor of creating an opportunity for a "stroke" after he walked off set during his late night programme.
The union general secretary walked off the set last night during a live television discussion of the Dunnes Stores strike.
The discussion between the pair - Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger and journalist Eamon Delaney were part of the panel - became more heated when Mr O'Connor alleged TV3 management refuses to recognise their employees' rights to "collective bargaining".
He also appeared to take exception to the broadcaster when he questioned him about his support for the Labour Party.
At this stage, Mr O'Connor began to remove his microphone.
He then appeared to put it back on as a TV3 production assistant came to his aid and tried to attach it back to his tie.
However, the mic was soon off again.
"Can I ask you something Vincent while we're talking about collective bargaining?" Jack O'Connor asked.
The broadcaster replied: "No you can't. The job is I ask you questions. Not the other way round. No, no you can't ask me questions."
Jack O'Connor: "Do these people [nods towards staff behind the camera] recognise their employee rights? Then I shouldn't be here, sure I shouldn't.
Vincent Browne: "Why?"
Jack O'Connor: "Because why should I be in a place where the employer refuses the employees' right to collective bargaining? I refuse to participate in any more of these programmes here."
Vincent Browne: "Did you know about this before you came out Jack? Did you know about this before you came out?"
Browne then repeatedly asked O'Connor the same question.
Jack O'Connor: "No, but I suspected it."
Vincent Browne: "Did you know?"
Browne asks repeatedly.
Vincent Browne: You knew far well... you now see the opportunity for a stroke.
There is more debated between both men.
Jack O'Connor: "I'm making a statement here."
Vincent Browne: "Pick up the microphone there. Pick up the microphone Jack."
Jack O'Connor can just about be heard saying he's "entitled to make a statement".
Vincent Browne: "Pick up the microphone or you won't be able to make ... Put the mic on the lapel."
Jack O'Connor: "On my lapel? Are you telling me what to do now?"
Vincent Browne: "What's that?"
Jack O'Connor: "You're telling me what to do now?"
Vincent Browne: "Yes, because you can't be heard by the... you can't be heard by the...."
Browne then starts to chuckle.
Jack O'Connor: "Why won't you recognise the employee's rights to bargain here?"
Vincent Browne: "I don't know and I disagree with it."
Jack O'Connor: "But why are you working for them? Why are you providing services for them here?"
Vincent Browne: "There are a lot of things I disagree with. As I disagreed with a lot of things in RTÉ, as I disagreed with a lot of things in Independent Newspapers and everywhere."
Jack O'Connor: "We’re all supporting it . We’re all going along with it. You know what we should do – all four of us – we should leave here and leave them to worry about what they’re going to do."
Jack O'Connor then walks off the set.
Browne then begins to laugh as the SIPTU boss walks off set, adding: "Okay good luck Jack. Quite a stunt isn’t it. Well done Jack. It’s impressive isn’t it?".
Source: TV3 Ireland/YouTube
Betfair bookies paid out an estimated €4,000 to punters following O'Connor's abrupt departure.
The incident occurred about 27 minutes into the broadcast which has since been uploaded onto the TV3 player this morning.
Browne continued his discussion with the remainder of the panel.
At the end of the programme, the broadcaster creased himself laughing when production staff played the song 'Hit The Road Jack' at the end of the programme. They also adjusted the lighting in the studio to go with the song.
Last month, Browne hit the headlines after a lively debate with founder of the New Land League Jerry Beades.
Solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his former home 'Gorse Hill' was the subject of the debate.
Beades, whose New Land League is aiding the O'Donnells in their bid to hold on to the Killiney mansion, described the home as "bog-standard" which prompted a live row between himself and Browne.
Betfair later revealed it made a four figure payout to punters following Jack O’Connor’s abrupt departure from the Vincent Browne show.
The figure is believed to be around €4,000.
The bookies, who had offered a market on a guest walking off the show following the last months heated ‘Gorse Hill’ debate with Jerry Beades of the ‘New Land League’.
"Some shrewdies got 7-1 about a guest walking off and in hindsight it was probably over priced at that as Vincent seems to becoming more belligerent and contrary with his guests as time goes on," said Betfair spokesman Barry Orr.
"We also have a market on Vincent Browne to boot a guest off the show and that outcome has been slashed from 5-1 to 3-1 following strong support today."