Northern Ireland news

RTÉ criticised over Irish actor's garda 'scum' comment on show

RTE has been criticised for allowing Irish actor John Connor to brand garda officers "scum" during appearance on show
Marie Louise McConville

RTÉ has been criticised for allowing an Irish actor to verbally abuse Garda officers and accuse them of aiding "ex-loyalist paramilitaries" in relation to an eviction operation in Dublin.

According to The Sunday Times, the TV station later deleted the Love/Hate actor's comments from the RTÉ Player.

The Garda Representative Association is believed to be taking legal advice on the comments and is considering making a formal complaint to the station.

It is understood the comments were made in relation to an eviction operation carried out in Dublin last week.

Gardai officers, who assisted a private security firm at a property at North Frederick Street, were accused of using heavy-handed tactics while also covering their faces with balaclavas.

Garda commissioner Drew Harris, a former deputy chief of the PSNI, was reported by the paper to have said his officers at the eviction were wrong to wear hoods that resemble balaclavas, without also wearing helmets.

Speaking on The Late, Late Show, in relation to the widely-publicised eviction, John Connors said it was "a new low".

However, it is unclear what evidence a reference made by the actor to "ex-loyalist paramilitaries" being involved, was based on.

Noel Rock, a Fine Gael TD for Dublin North-West, said Connors's comments were "disgraceful and way out of line" and called on RTÉ to ensure it had a system to prevent the broadcasting of "smears".

The Garda press office declined to comment on the issue.

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