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RTÉ defends interview with Shane MacGowan in pub setting on Late Late Show

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Shane MacGowan with host Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

Shane MacGowan with host Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

Shane MacGowan with host Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

RTÉ has defended interviewing singer Shane MacGowan in a pub setting on the 'Late Late Show'.

The programme, which aired last night, was partially set in a make-believe bar, where MacGowan's musical career was celebrated.

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Show time: Actors Aidan Gillen and Patrick Bergin on 'The Late Late Show'. Photo: Andres Poveda

Show time: Actors Aidan Gillen and Patrick Bergin on 'The Late Late Show'. Photo: Andres Poveda

Show time: Actors Aidan Gillen and Patrick Bergin on 'The Late Late Show'. Photo: Andres Poveda

Ryan Tubridy was filmed making a cheers gesture to the singer with a pint of Guinness while MacGowan held his pint.

No drinking was filmed and the station never gave any indication it would take place, but Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) criticised the segment for the message it said it was sending to the public.

RTÉ issued free publicity shots yesterday showing Tubridy and MacGowan holding pints of Guinness in a 'cheers' gesture, but later claimed that this image was not approved for use.

An RTÉ spokeswoman said: "The Shane MacGowan segment of 'The Late Late Show' was in a bar room setting, as such locations were a major feature of Shane's musical career and a backdrop to his music and lyrics.

"These songs were discussed and performed on the show and the alcohol on set was in context with the performances and conversations involved."

Eunan McKinney, from AAI, said it was "important to preface" comments he was making with the fact he'd yet to view the show.

He said: "It's regrettable, yet again RTÉ would seek to normalise and/or sentimentalise the impact of alcohol in people's lives.

"Reinforcing cultural stereotypes and the numerous social norms that prevail, ie you can only celebrate the talent that is Shane MacGowan by setting him in a pub - is a classic trap of popular media.

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"This persistence of such a narrow perspective and narrative only undermines the endeavour of public health advocates who seek to recast Ireland's corrosive relationship with alcohol.

"It is incumbent on us all not to reinforce the harm of alcohol or sentimentalise its effect."

Shane MacGowan's wife Victoria Mary Clarke commented in 2016 how she was living through the longest period the singer had been sober.

She wrote at the time: "It took some time before Shane's drinking went from being just normal to being a problem..."

Ms Clarke told the Irish Independent yesterday despite his previous issues with drink: "Shane survived, he's doing really well, an awful lot of our friends are dead, some of them didn't even drink, so it's kind of a miracle he's alive.

"So it's good to celebrate. Shane is getting better all the time, getting his mojo back."

Ms Clarke didn't believe any harm had been caused by what she felt was an innocent gesture on the 'Late Late'.

"It's a pub set, so there's going to be alcohol," she said. "The pint of Guinness (Tubridy's and MacGowan's) only appeared at the very end when everyone was like 'let's wave the glass'."

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