Sunday 22 April 2018

Dr Ciara tells of 'death threats' after Operation Transformation comments

Dr Ciara Kelly
Dr Ciara Kelly
Dr Ciara Kelly
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Dr Ciara Kelly has spoken about receiving death threats as a result of comments she made on RTE’s Operation Transformation.

But the GP and broadcaster said she would say exactly the same thing on the new series of the show as she feels so passionate about the problem of alcohol in Ireland.

Dr Ciara landed herself in hot water during the 2015 programme after she dressed down team leader Eilish for drinking during a trip to the races, provoking a storm of abuse.

“I was lambasted on social media for days. I got death threats, the usual madness,” she said.

“I got thousands and thousands of notifications on ­Twitter and Facebook going bananas. I was very unapologetic about it and I’d do the same again because it’s not appropriate for someone in the health service industry to go on the lash.”

The outspoken ­medic said she did not take the ­backlash personally as the tide soon turned in her favour.

Dr Ciara Kelly
Dr Ciara Kelly

“The show went out on the Wednesday, I was the worst in the world by Thursday – it was like a feeding frenzy – and then I came out and said a few things about it, and then people said I should be Minister for Health by Sunday,” she said.

“It went from everyone hating you to ­thinking you’re great in the space of three or four days, so popularity is very fickle. I wouldn’t worry about it at all.”

She said the reaction was something that could only have happened in this country, given our attitudes towards alcohol.

“Only in Ireland would we even have a debate about this,” she said.

“This is not an acceptable thing. This is about people trying to get fit and healthy and the leaders do take on a lot of responsibility in that role.”

“It’s for eight weeks. It’s a big ask, but they do get a lot out of it too, so I would feel quite strongly, particularly because a lot of young people watch the show, that it’s just not fair to support the use of alcohol.

“I don’t mind the leaders having a drink or two within the programme. That’s a very different thing, though. We all say, ‘It’s OK to have a glass of wine’, but a bottle of wine and a bottle of vodka, it’s kind of beyond that for me.

“We have a big issue with alcohol in this country and I have an issue with us not saying that loud and proud.”

Dr Ciara has approached by several political parties and asked to sign up, but she has turned them down.

“I don’t think I need to be a politician to be passionate about health. I’m not knocking politicians, but I think to be successful in politics, you have to make compromises I’m not interested in making,” she said.

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