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Sunday 26 January 2020

How 'Lambo' sparked outrage when he called Jesus Christ a terrorist

Gerry Ryan poses with a bunch of carrots last week on a visit to his radio show’s garden in the RTÉ campus at Donnybrook
Gerry Ryan poses with a bunch of carrots last week on a visit to his radio show’s garden in the RTÉ campus at Donnybrook

Colin Gleeson

THE late Gerry Ryan, dubbed "Ireland's biggest shock-jock" was never far away from controversy.

Known for speaking his mind, his attitude and approach to controversy was one that endeared him to many but vilified him in the eyes of many more.

"The bottom line is I am not in the business of trying to make people like me," he told the Irish Independent in an interview last year.

"My job is to make good radio. Do I want to be popular?

"It's definitely not my top priority.

"People will form their own opinions about me as they always have.

"If people dislike me, they dislike me."

  • Lambo:

In the mid-80s Ryan became a household name when, along with a group of volunteers on a survival course for 'The Late Late Show', he claimed to have clubbed a lamb to death and eaten it.

It turned out to be a headline-grabbing hoax but Ryan was forever more to bear the nickname 'Lambo'.

  • The Jesus dispute:

In 2007, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission ruled that he caused "undue offence" when he referred to Jesus Christ as a "Palestinian terrorist" on his radio programme.

The commission added at the time he made the comments "just to shock" people.

They further criticised Ryan for "belittling" a man who phoned in to complain about the use of the phrase.

  • Alcohol:

In his memoirs, Ryan painted a dark picture of himself when it came to his relationship with alcohol.

In 'Would The Real Gerry Please Stand Up', the broadcaster admitted to regularly downing a third of a bottle of whiskey a day and drinking an average three times the alcohol limit recommended by doctors.

Unrepentant, he said alcohol was part of who he was. "For better or worse, the Gerry Ryan you listen to on the radio, or watch on the television, is a guy who drinks too much. That's part of the package."

  • Sex offenders:

Earlier this year, Ryan supported a campaign for a version of Megan's Law -- the US law which requires law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offender -- to be introduced here. He said: "We have the right to know who these sex offenders are, what they look like and where they are living. In many other jurisdictions you are not only given the right to know, but you can go on a website and put in your area and they will give you a list of convicted sex offenders with details of where they live, with names and pictures."

  • Pay dispute:

Most recently, Gerry Ryan became embroiled in a controversy over pay cuts at RTE. Despite being the second highest-paid presenter last year, he held out on taking a 10pc cut for months.

At the time, he dismissed the calls for him to slash his pay as "bullshit". After caving in and taking the cut, he said he had "no regrets" about biding his time.

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