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Joe Brolly taken off air by Claire Byrne over DUP allegations during RTÉ United Ireland debate


Analyst and pundit Joe Brolly

Analyst and pundit Joe Brolly

Analyst and pundit Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly was taken off air from the Claire Byrne Live show tonight after he made allegations against the DUP.

The sports and political commentator was among many guests on the show airing their views on the prospect of a United Ireland when host Claire Byrne asked him to refrain from suggesting the DUP were homophobic and racist while there was no party representative there to defend themselves.

Brolly said: “You see them chuckling and guffawing when people are trying to have a serious discussion. Laughing at the Irish language, laughing at Gaelic sports, the homophobia, the racism, all these things,” while speaking live via video link.

Byrne asked Brolly to refrain from making accusations against the DUP and its representative Gregory Campbell who had earlier been on the show as neither he nor the party could counter the claims themselves.

When Brolly asked, “which ones would he deny?” Byrne asked for Brolly’s video link to be removed from the screen.

Byrne said she refused to be put in a position to deny remarks made against people who were not there to defend themselves and would not allow it on the show.

Brolly then took to Twitter saying: “I was taken off air and told it was because RTÉ could not risk me saying the DUP were homophobic, racist or sectarian. I must apologise to the DUP at once,” while sharing screenshots of articles in which he appears to link the DUP or its members to racist and homophobic remarks.

Earlier in the show, Mr Campbell could be seen laughing at suggestions that a United Ireland was a realistic possibility and said: “It’s never going to happen, we won’t agree to it.”

Campbell said the people of Northern Ireland would be better served by building on the current State of Northern Ireland rather than going into “cloud cuckoo land and trying to develop mechanisms that we will never agree with”.

“We are British, there is nothing you can say or nothing you can do that will change that,” Mr Campbell said on the possibility of getting Unionists onside in the discussion on a United Ireland.

Other contributors to last night’s special edition of Claire Byrne Live included Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, former Taoiseach John Bruton, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long, rugby player Andrew Trimble and loyalist activist Jamie Bryson.

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