Saturday 22 July 2017

Late Late Show host Tubridy silent over guest offer to Gilligan

'The Late Late Show' is slated for inviting drug gang boss on programme to discuss legal battle

Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy and inset John Gilligan and Veronica Guerin
Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy and inset John Gilligan and Veronica Guerin
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Host Ryan Tubridy yesterday refused to comment on the criticism surrounding The Late Late Show's decision to invite convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan to join him on the Friday night chat show.

Gilligan, who is believed to have ordered the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, was invited in a hand-written letter penned by a researcher on the show.

Ryan Tubridy Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ryan Tubridy Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ms Guerin's brother, Jimmy, said the move was "an absolute disgrace".

Speaking to the Sunday Independent this weekend, Mr Guerin said: "It's a pity that they say inviting Gilligan on to the show is the pursuit of good journalism and then - when asked by an opposing media organisation to comment on what the vast majority of right-thinking people of society believe to be ill-judged - they will not give a comment.

"I am also most disappointed that an organisation like Facebook will allow a convicted drug dealer, and known criminal - who is responsible for a most horrific murder - a platform to voice his views. I will be contacting Facebook to ask them to remove it."

Despite spending 17 years in prison for drug trafficking and largely being suspected of being behind one of the most callous and shocking murders in the history of the State, Gilligan was invited on to the flagship entertainment programme The Late Late Show to talk about his "legal battles".

He recently lost a Supreme Court appeal to stop the Criminal Assets Bureau from seizing his luxurious Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Co Kildare.

The letter from the station, which is based in Donnybrook, Dublin, read: "Dear Mr Gilligan... I understand from recent newspaper reports you intend setting up a Facebook page to highlight some issues surrounding your legal battle.

John Gilligan Photo: Collins
John Gilligan Photo: Collins

"Perhaps you might be interested in discussing these issues on The Late Late Show."

The letter was written on headed RTE paper and Gilligan was given a phone number to get in touch with the staff member

Gilligan posted the letter to a social media page he has set up to bemoan recent court cases he has lost.

He has since thanked the national broadcaster for offering him "the opportunity to 'discuss the issues surrounding [his] legal battles'".

He has, however, turned down the invitation.

Meanwhile, RTE has said it will also not be commenting on Gilligan's social media post and added that as a policy it "does not comment on editorial issues".

However, sources within RTE said: "The show has a history of covering controversial subject matter and topics.

"Invitations don't necessarily guarantee an appearance."

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists Seamus Dooley questioned the appropriateness of the request for Gilligan to appear on The Late Late Show.

Sunday Independent

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