Tuesday 23 January 2018

'Late Late Show' invitation to Gilligan branded a disgrace

John Gilligan
John Gilligan

Luke Byrne and Kirsty Blake Knox

RTÉ has come under fire for inviting convicted drug dealer John Gilligan to appear as a guest on 'The Late Late Show'.

The 64-year-old criminal was asked to appear as a guest on the Ryan Tubridy show to "highlight some of the issues" around his "legal battles".

Jimmy Guerin, brother of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, has branded the decision to invite the man thought to be behind her murder on to the show as "an absolute disgrace."

"I think it's an absolute disgrace that the national broadcaster, who has been targeted for legal action in the past by Gilligan, would invite him on. That they would want to give him airtime is sad," he said.

"I think it shows just how desperate 'The Late Late Show' is for ratings, that they would invite him on the show rather than respecting (journalistic colleague Veronica Guerin)," he added.

Gilligan took to a personal blog to upload a picture of the hand-written letter sent to him by RTÉ.

A source at the licence-fee- funded broadcaster last night confirmed the letter was genuine.

"RTÉ would consider writing a letter to Gilligan a valid journalistic endeavour. The show has a history of covering controversial subject matter/ topics," said the source.

RTÉ declined to comment on the issue when approached last night.

"As a policy RTÉ do not comment on editorial issues," a statement said.

'Sunday Independent' journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered in 1996, after confronting the gangster.

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Séamus Dooley, questioned the appropriateness of a request for John Gilligan to appear on 'The Late Late Show'.

In the past, the Irish Independent has confronted John Gilligan in relation to court cases or developments in the investigation into Ms Guerin's murder.

"However, I am surprised that if RTÉ were to interview John Gilligan, that it should be for 'The Late Late Show'," Mr Dooley said.

Irish Independent

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