Thursday 18 January 2018

'You can't just go around demanding certain treatment because you're a minister' - Micheal Martin on Alan Kelly's Newstalk spat

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Mark Condren
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Mark Condren

Sarah-Jane Murphy

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has described as "shocking" Environment Minister Alan Kelly's alleged tantrum in a Newstalk radio studio earlier this week.

The Labour Party deputy leader "stormed" into Newstalk's mobile studio in Thurles yesterday demanding to know why presenter Chris Donoghue had given a "prime-time slot" to his constituency rival independent TD Michael Lowry.

Witnesses said Mr Kelly was irate and directly confronted the 'Newstalk Breakfast' host just minutes before taking part in an on-air debate with independent TD Mattie McGrath and Fianna Fail candidate Michael Smith Jnr.

"The first thing I would say is that Mr Kelly needs to apologise to Chris Donoghue and to his team for his unacceptable behaviour in relation to what happened the other day.

"I've spoken to people involved and done my own research and it's just not good enough.

"You can't just go around demanding certain treatment just because you're a minister or whatever," he said.

Mr Martin said that Mr Kelly's behaviour was completely out of order and added that journalists should not have to endure such treatment in the course of their working day.

"There's no question as to if incidents such as this distracts from the Labour Party's core message, of course it does," he said.

When asked how he would deal with the issue if a member of Fianna Fail was the subject of similiar headlines Mr Martin did not hesitate to answer.

"We'd have a very quick word with the person in question.

"They would be told that it's just not acceptable behaviour, it's not good enough at all.

"I'm shocked by the altercation that took place, the other candidates were as well," he said.

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