Thursday, September 24, 2009

Archbishop calls Tiernan Holocaust jokes ‘offensive’ and ‘insensitive’

COMEDIAN Tommy Tiernan has been denounced from the pulpit by the Archbishop of Dublin for jokes about the Jewish Holocaust.

"This is not the first time that something like this has happened and it probably won’t be the last. However, as a public performer I can only hope that whatever wild, irresponsible and reckless things that come into my head will be taken in the context in which they were said," the Navan man declared on his website.

Tiernan has been drawing heat from many quarters since taking part in an Electric Picnic public interview some weeks ago when he blamed the Jews for the death of Christ.

In a comic rant related to the Holocaust, he stated: "F*****g Christ killing b******s. F*****g six million? I would have got 10 or 12 million out of that. No f*****g problem."

Speaking at the end of a special Mass for teachers last evening, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, said he was concerned about the recent remarks attributed to Tiernan.

Dr Martin described the comments as "offensive to the Jewish community and offensive to all who feel revulsion concerning the Holocaust".

"Having known persons who were Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazi extermination camps, I can only decry the comments as insensitive and hurtful to the suffering of the victims and to a memory which is sacred."

Comedy does not bring with it unlimited licence, the archbishop added and could easily become the forerunner of intolerance.

"The changing make-up of modern Irish society requires all of us to be particularly sensitive to any expression of racism or intolerance," he concluded.

Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter has described the remarks as "disgusting and unacceptable" and "demented".

"The things that I said in front of a live audience were in an attempt to explain my belief that one of the duties of the comic performer is to be reckless and irresponsible and that the things they say should never be taken out of context. If you read the full transcript or listen to the podcast you will see that I preface my rant by saying it should not be taken seriously and as such, the rant took place as an example of my argument. While it is out of context, which it most definitely is now, it seems callous, cruel and ignorant," Tiernan stated.

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