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Tiernan's Traveller joke leads to uproar

COMEDIAN Tommy Tiernan's Traveller skit on The Late Late Show has caused uproar among the public with RTE receiving a number of complaints over the comments.

The national broadcaster could find itself in hot water after the Traveller support group Pavee Point said it was considering making a complaint to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

A spokesman for Pavee Point said: "There are a number of groups who feel Tommy Tiernan has gone beyond the point of good taste and decency."

A spokesperson for RTE confirmed the station has received complaints since the show was aired last Friday night. But it refused to reveal just how many had complained.


The spokesperson said: "RTE does not give details on the number of calls received with regard to individual transmissions. A moderate number of calls were received."

Some rang simply to compliment Gerry Ryan for the job he did standing in for the night.

The station added it would not be making any comment on Tiernan's remarks.

However, members of the public and the Travelling community, who saw the comedian's jokes as extremely offensive, are now calling on the Navan man to give an apology.

A member of the Travelling community in Dublin, Denis Ward, said that his family felt targeted by the remarks.

"Tommy Tiernan described how he would make a film on three itinerants in space who were looking for the cure for homosexuality," said Mr Ward from Coolock."It was very insulting."

The three Travellers whom Tommy described in his sketch each had the surname Ward.


Mr Ward claimed his family was the only Traveller family in Dublin with the name Ward, and they had been hassled by the public since the comedian made the offensive remarks.

He said: "We got an awful lot of slagging. In the Travelling community, people pick up on these things and slag you off.

"I have eight brothers and people ring them up saying that three members of the Ward family are gay.

"I honestly feel they made a dog's laugh of it because of the name they mentioned.

"We were very disgusted. I want a simple apology."

He added: "It's very sad when RTE have to fill their air time with not only insulting 32,000 people but also individuals as well."