Saturday 23 June 2018

'Let's not push Al Porter over the edge...a person is not a commodity', says bishop

Al Porter was hit with allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Photo: David Conachy
Al Porter was hit with allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Photo: David Conachy
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

A bishop has appealed for people to be more understanding towards comedian Al Porter after his recent fall from grace.

Dublin's Auxiliary Bishop Eamonn Walsh has said he would like to see less judgment in the new year when it comes to the former Today FM and TV3 presenter.

Porter was forced to resign from a number of jobs after he was hit with a wave of allegations of inappropriate behaviour last November.

In his annual Christmas homily, the senior clergyman with special responsibility for Tallaght referred to the troubles faced by a "local comedian" and said: "May heads on plates be off the menu in 2018."

Expanding on what he said in Mass and in a message sent to a local publication, he told the Irish Independent how there was always two sides to every story.

"Let's not jump to judgment without the facts and we have to be aware that there may be judicial proceedings down the line so I wouldn't like to say anything that would interfere with that," he said.

"He's a man who has spoken out about difficulties with mental health issues and we do not want to push him over the edge and you have to think there's always people behind these things. A person is not a commodity - we all have family and friends. Everybody's so self-righteous these days."

Bishop Walsh, who's also a qualified barrister, said in any situation it's never just black or white. When asked about speaking out in a public show of support, he added: "All I did was send a message. I'm happy to stand over what I said."

In his annual message, he said at one Mass attended by Mr Porter's mother Marian - a parish secretary - that he hoped to see some positive changes in 2018. He expressed his wish that this would be the year that: "We allow justice to take its course, and not usurp it through public condemnation, humiliation and sentence without trial.

"May the darkness that was visited on our local comedian, before justice to all could be processed, be replaced with balance, proper proportion and fair play, so that he may feel free and welcome to make us laugh again."

Irish Independent

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