herald

Thursday 31 July 2014

I back Miriam but won't take same line, vows Kenny

PAT Kenny has stood firmly behind RTE colleague Miriam O'Callaghan in her battle with Sinn Fein.

The broadcaster, who will host the final presidential debate next Monday, says the mother-of-eight was right to challenge Martin McGuinness on his past.

However, Mr Kenny will not be taking the same hardline approach on his Frontline programme on October 24.

"I did see it and I wasn't surprised that he (McGuinness) reacted the way he did -- with shock and horror because I don't think I've ever seen a politician ever interviewed on radio before and more of less called a murderer. That was kind of shocking," he told the Herald.

When asked what he thought about the Prime Time presenter's approach, he added: "I wouldn't criticise Miriam for doing what she did -- she was pursuing a line of questioning about confession at the time.



Logical

"I don't think I would have gone down that road myself with any of them, but maybe it was a logical conclusion of that line of questioning. But it's not something I'll be doing myself on The Frontline. I don't think we'll be talking about confession, but who knows? The audience will frame the questions so that will make it very different."

He went on to say how when it comes to the next President of Ireland, people have "high standards and demand certain qualities" from that person.

But he was adamant that he wouldn't have stopped a member of the audience asking McGuinness a similar question.

"No, we're not in the business of inhibiting people. The only thing we're concerned with is if someone is unfairly defamed or libelled," he said. "Again and again during this campaign, Mr McGuinness has said he does not disavow the IRA so there is a logic in pursuing that question."

The former IRA chief of staff took umbrage during the Prime Time debate after being asked about his involvement in "the murder of so many people."

The Sinn Fein politician reacted with fury saying it was a "disgraceful comment" and had a heated meeting with the presenter afterwards.

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