'It is unacceptable behaviour in a setting that promotes being healthy' - Operation Transformation's Dr Ciara Kelly stands by her criticism of leader
Operation Transformation’s Dr Ciara Kelly is standing by her harsh criticism of leader Eilish Kavanagh for, she claimed, “getting drunk on TV”.
On Monday night’s instalment of the RTE show, Dr Kelly criticised Wexford woman Eilish (47) after she consumed alcohol on a day out the races at Gowran Park and lost just one pound, half her target of 2 lbs for the week.
"Operation Transformation is about getting the country healthy and one of our five leaders went out this week and got drunk on TV," Dr Kelly said.
Eilish replied that she wasn't drunk - but Dr Kelly interjected, saying: "It's what it looked like and I'm disgusted because there are people around the country following you.
"There are young people watching this show, there are kids watching this show and I thought that was appalling.”
Eilish told Dr Kelly: "I looked up everything on the internet, my food was perfect for the day, I did my exercises.”
However, Dr Kelly reminded her that alcohol was an extra "six or seven hundred calories".
Eilish replied: "I knew it wasn't going to be okay because I was worried about today. I worked my socks off the week before knowing I had the day coming up."
However, Dr Kelly further criticised her and told her she was supposed to “work hard every week” and that this week was “an abomination”.
She continued, “I was embarrassed for you and I was disgusted to see you, you let the programme down. You let your followers down and with respect to Eilish, you let yourself down.”
"Look it, I made a mistake, I had a few drinks, I had a good day, that's life," Eilish replied.
Dr Kelly has since defended her comments on the show.
Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail, she said, “Over 75 per cent of alcohol is consumed in a binge setting in this country and it costs us millions in health spends every week – alcohol is a huge problem in Ireland.
“I’m a medical professional and a medical expert on the show. I’ve seen families decimated by alcohol and it destroys people’s lives.”
Dr Kelly revealed that following the show a patient had thanked her for her comments because their marriage is going through a separation due to alcohol.
“People saying, ‘What’s the problem? She’s only having a few drinks,’ is an issue. It’s not about Eilish as a person – it is unacceptable behaviour in a setting that promotes being healthy and adopting healthier lifestyles.”
Dr Kelly went on to say she respects Eilish, called her “amazing” and would choose her as a leader herself because she can identify with her as a woman in her 40s who is not obese but overweight.
However, she said we, as a nation, need to talk about the issue of alcoholism in Ireland.
Eilish was not the only leader to fail to reach her target this week. The show's heaviest leader Alan Mullen (21) missed his target weight by 1lb. He initially weighed in at 26 stone and was aiming for 25 stone 3lbs but hit 25 stone 4lbs.
Fitness instructor Karl Henry told him to "knuckle down".
He said, "You have got thinner, which means you can work harder and it is bloody hard but that's life, get on with it, just knuckle down".