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Billy Connolly 'proud' of tirade against photographer

Comedian Billy Connolly has said he is "proud" of a foul-mouthed tirade against the official photographer at the INEC venue in Killarney, Co Kerry.

The Glasgow comedian called her a "f**king c**t" as she was taking photographs during his concert last Thursday night.

"I was kind of rude to her, I didn't know it was a woman, I could only see her in the shadows halfway up the hall," the comedian told Marian Finucane during a tribute to song-writer Shay Healy on her radio show yesterday in which he was joined by his friend, song-writer Phil Coulter.

Accompanied by background laughter Mr Connolly added: "I told her to go away and then I told her to go away in a Glaswegian way."

When Marian Finucane asked him if he regretted the outburst Mr Connolly replied: "Certainly not, I am very proud of it."

The award-winning Valerie O'Sullivan, who is the official photographer for the Killarney arena, was contacted by Mr Connolly's management following the outburst.

She told them that she observed the protocols involved in taking photographs, as she did at every concert.

She also told them that when she asked for permission to leave the mixing desk and move to the centre of the hall one of Billy Connolly's aides told her "that's OK – go ahead".

Ms O'Sullivan refused to comment publicly on the outburst but she is said by friends to be "mortified" at ending up in the centre of a dispute with Mr Connolly.

She was not using flash photography at the time of the incident.

Patrick O'Donoghue, managing director of the Gleneagle Hotel Group, which runs the venue, said they have received "numerous messages of goodwill and support" for her. According to reports, the Scottish-born comedian lashed out at Ms O'Sullivan after seeing her taking photographs shortly after the start of the show.

"Are you taking photographs of me," he asked. "Yeah you, you're still taking photographs of me."

As the audience laughed, thinking it was part of the act, he continued: "I'm serious, stop it," before adding: "Will someone come here and see to this f**king c**t."

Independent TD Michael Healy Rae yesterday called on the public to boycott Mr Connolly's shows until he apologises to the Kerry photographer.

"I think he should not get up on a stage and do a show again until such time as he apologises."

Irish Independent