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Sunday 21 October 2018

I'm no racist, says man who berated Kenny on live TV

Rant: Heckler shouted racial abuse on street

A MAN who launched a verbal attack on Pat Kenny on live television has defended his outburst and denied he is a racist.

Alan O'Brien, from Bluebell in Dublin, who has a previous conviction for racially abusing people on Grafton Street, launched a three-minute attack on Mr Kenny on Monday night's Frontline programme, describing him as a "hypocrite" who goes around "moralising and pontificating."

Mr Kenny was visibly surprised as Mr O'Brien shouted: "You don't have the moral right to stand for the people.

"It's you Pat Kenny who gets €600,000 a year for doing 11 hours a week and you have the indignity to speak about people on the social welfare."

Mr O'Brien has a conviction for incitement to hatred, relating to an incident on Grafton Street, Dublin, in December, 2006, when he shouted racist abuse on passers by.

The charge sheet in that case shows he shouted: "Black Bastards...Muslim...Islamic scum" at people on the street.

He was later convicted under incitement to hatred laws and given a three-month suspended jail term. He was also bound over to keep the peace for 12 months.

However, Mr O'Brien insisted yesterday: "I do not have a racist bone in my body.

"I have Islamic friends, I am not racist."

He said: "I was using very obvious insensitive things to see their reaction. And the reactions from some people were over the top. I was trying to get a reaction.

"Black bastards, Jews, Muslims, Greeks, it's all just words... and I am a white bastard."

Mr O'Brien, of Bernard Curtis House in Bluebell also has two other criminal convictions.

He was convicted of assault on a man in St James Hospital in Dublin in September, 2006. He was also convicted of criminal damage in relation to the same incident in the Jonathan Swift Clinic of the hospital, a mental health day unit.

He was given a three-month jail term, again suspended.

The former psychiatric patient, who said yesterday he is three-and-a-half years off medication and has been discharged from psychiatric care, insisted he has no regrets about ambushing Mr Kenny over his salary.

Mr Kenny is RTE's best paid presenter. He earned €950,976 last year. He has since taken a 25pc pay cut and volunteered a further 10pc which lowered his salary to €630,000.

Mr O'Brien denied his comments were a stunt and and said he used Mr Kenny's earnings "as a symbol of the excesses paid in RTE." He said he had only said "what everybody should have been screaming."

Mr O'Brien was also seen at protests last Friday, criticising union leader David Beggs and speaking out against wage levels paid to union officials.

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