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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Ryan Tubridy faces a backlash over his remarks about Greta Thunberg

Speech: Greta Thunberg addressed world leaders at the UN. Picture: AP
Speech: Greta Thunberg addressed world leaders at the UN. Picture: AP

Mícheál Ó Scannáil and Ian Begley

Ryan Tubridy will this morning reply to the criticism he received after suggesting climate activist Greta Thunberg should be "brought home and watch a movie".

The RTÉ presenter made the comments yesterday as he suggested the 16-year-old was too young to be subjected to the global stage.

"It's one thing campaigning, it's another thing causing anxiety to a generation," he said.

"It's not good for her mental health or her wellbeing. Her face contorted in pain, in agony and in anxiety. I was watching her and not thinking about the climate.

"I was thinking about my daughter and what would I do if I saw my 16-year-old's face contorted, talking about her childhood and life being robbed of her in that audience.

"It just got to a tipping point last night where I just feel she needs to be brought home and watch a movie. Just go for a walk with your da or your ma," he said.

Ms Thunberg was the driving figure behind a global day of action on Friday which saw millions of students and protesters take to the streets across the world, including thousands in Ireland. Since yesterday morning's show, Tubridy has been subjected to widespread criticism on social media.

However, many also supported his view.

RTÉ said it had received no formal complaints relating to his comments. A spokesperson said Tubridy would address what he said on his show this morning.

Green Party Councillor Peter Kavanagh told the Irish Independent Tubridy should make a "sincere and frank" apology to his listeners.

"From somebody in such a position, you would expect a little more empathy," he said.

"Greta Thunberg has become a figurehead for climate action and is a 16-year-old girl who wants to save the world.

"When you're in the media, you have a responsibility to your audience. Ryan Tubridy is only feeding into this terrible negativity that this young woman is receiving online. He needs to realise that his opinions carry weight, so I think he should make a sincere and frank apology," he said.

In her speech to the UN, in which she herself admitted to wanting to be back in school, Ms Thunberg told world leaders: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

Irish Independent

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