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Friday 17 January 2020

Artist puts comic Tiernan in frame for Jewish jokes

Ken Sweeney

An artist has turned the tables on controversial comedian Tommy Tiernan, who sparked outrage after making allegedly anti-semitic jokes during a festival performance.

Greystones artist Tom Byrne said two new paintings in which Tiernan is cast as a Hasidic Jew, are intended as a plea for comedian to empathise with Jewish people worldwide.

"I am a fan of Tommy Tiernan but I think the material he did really crossed a boundary. I know he does regret what was said but I think, to truly move on, Tommy will have to put himself into the shoes of a Jewish person in the way I have portrayed him," said Mr Byrne.

The 46-year-old painter said it was Tiernan's role as a comedian which had inspired him to create two paintings rather than one.

"One painting is comedy, the other tragedy. What I was trying to capture was Tommy Tiernan's predicament as a stand-up."

It was while taking part in a questions and answers session at the Electric Picnic festival last September that Tiernan made a number of remarks about Jews which were later criticised by the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

The Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dr Zion Evrony added to the protests by demanding the 40-year-old stand-up apologise for comments he branded as "outrageous, hurtful and ignorant".

Controversy over the remarks forced him to cancel a series of US dates last year.

Tom Byrne's two portraits of Tommy Tiernan are on show in The Apollo Gallery in Dublin.

Tommy Tiernan did not return calls from the Irish Independent last night.

Irish Independent

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