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BBC apologises for 'anti-Irish' joke on news

THE BBC has apologised after it received complaints over an allegedly "anti-Irish joke" broadcast on its flagship news programme in Scotland.

And Ofcom in Britain, the communications regulator, is considering whether to investigate the broadcast, which some viewers deemed to be offensive.

The joke was featured as part of BBC1 Reporting Scotland's coverage of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and aired on August 19.

Parts of the broadcast were pre-recorded and in one section members of the public were asked what their favourite jokes were.

One contributor replied: "Two Irish guys look in the mirror. One goes: 'I know that guy.' The other one goes: 'I know you do, it's me you stupid guy'."

The joke has caused outrage among some sections of the Irish community in Britain.

A spokesman for the BBC told the Herald that it had received a "handful of complaints" about the joke. However he declined to provide a specific figure.

"During a series of vox-pops a member of the public told a joke which may have offended some viewers. We apologise if any offence was caused," he said.

Student Brendan MacFarlane (20), who lives in Fife, said that he was disgusted by the joke.

"I thought it was absolutely disgusting to see that your own national broadcaster would allow this to happen," he said, speaking to the British-based Irish Post newspaper.

A number of people took to social media websites to vent their anger about the tone of the joke.

"It's the fact that no one at BBC even thought this could offend," one user wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter.

"Ach it was just a bit of craic so it was," another user said.

During the Olympic Games in July 2012, Britain's twice Olympic gold medal winner Daley Thompson was caught up in a race row over an anti-Irish joke on BBC.

The BBC was forced into making an apology after Thompson commented that a tattooist who misspelled the word Olympics must have been Irish.