Monday 22 October 2018

'I’m sick of political correctness' - café owner has 'no regrets' over telling woman to 'drop dead' in heated radio row

Tom McNamara, more commonly known as Texas Tom, owner of The Coffee Club in Tullamore
Picture: Jeff Harvey
Tom McNamara, more commonly known as Texas Tom, owner of The Coffee Club in Tullamore Picture: Jeff Harvey
Tom McNamara told a woman to 'drop dead' on RTE's Liveline today Picture: Jeff Harvey
Tom McNamara – owner of the Coffee Club in Tullamore – denied he has upped his prices on the back of the Budget Photo: Google Maps

Ryan Nugent

A CAFÉ owner says he has “no regrets” over telling a woman to “drop dead” live on air during a heated debate over the increase in VAT on the hospitality sector.

Tom McNamara – who owns the Coffee Club in Tullamore, Co. Offaly – denied he has upped his prices on the back of the Budget increase in VAT from 9pc to 13.5pc.

His denial came on the back of claims made by one of his customers, Anne, who phoned into RTE Liveline to say that’s what he had told her yesterday.

Anne – who said she is a regular customer at the Coffee Club – said the price of a stir fry had risen from €9.99 to €11.99.

She said that when she enquired about the increase, she was told it was due to the VAT increase.

However, Anne subsequently realised this increase had not come into effect yet, and won’t until January 1, 2019.

Tom McNamara told a woman to 'drop dead' on RTE's Liveline today
Picture: Jeff Harvey
Tom McNamara told a woman to 'drop dead' on RTE's Liveline today Picture: Jeff Harvey

Mr McNamara said that Anne had “imagined what happened”.

“I did not imagine what happened. I am not here to put anybody down, but the point here is you told me that the increases were introduced because the VAT rate was increased from 9pc to 13.5pc,” she replied and insisted she was sure it was Mr McNamara that said it to her.

When asked by Mr McNamara if this was all to do with €2, she said that it was a matter of principle.

“Well you know what you can do with your principle,” he replied.

He said the subject didn’t deserve airtime.

“If this lady imagines that I said such a thing, then let her imagine it and if she wants her €2 back she can have her €2 back. If she doesn’t she can go to hell,” he said.

As the argument continued, another woman called Judith came on the line to criticise Mr McNamara’s behaviour, saying it was “rude” and a “disgrace”, to which Mr McNamara replied labelling the woman “a pain in the arse” and telling her to “drop dead”.

When asked by presenter Joe Duffy about his behaviour, he said he's "sick and tired of all these permanently outraged people".

Speaking to Independent.ie, Mr McNamara said he stood by all of this.

He maintained that he did not tell the woman he told her the price increase – which he said came into effect in May – was to do with the VAT increase.

He said he had not been sure at the time if there would be a VAT increase.

Mr McNamara said that apart from a comment he made to an old age pensioner, he doesn’t regret anything he said on air.

“Everything else I certainly have no regrets for,” he said.

“You have to be true to yourself too and true to your feelings and that’s how I felt.

“You have to say what’s on your mind.

“To be honest with you, I’m sick and tired of the political correctness in Ireland,” he said.

He said he didn’t think the heated row would affect his business negatively, despite many criticising him on the café's Facebook page.

“Those that are unhappy to dine at my place, they’re welcome to stay away, but most of my customers are loyal customers and I am loyal to them,” he said.

However, he said he would offer Anne free lunch at his coffee shop for a week, but insisted that this was not an apology.

“I’d love to meet her. If she comes back into me I’ll give her lunch on the house for the next week free,” he said.

“Certainly not as an apology, just as getting on with life, €2 isn’t worth worrying about,” he added.

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