Friday 24 May 2019

Defiant Pat won't back down in 'Ballybough hovel' comments row

BROADCASTER Pat Kenny is resisting a call to make a public apology to a Dublin community after being accused of making 'insulting' remarks on radio.

The RTE star was accused of "insulting" the people of Ballybough, in Dublin's north inner city, in comments he made about Celtic Tiger property prices.

City councillor Nial Ring said he was "inundated with calls from annoyed constituents" after the presenter referred to "a hovel" in Ballybough.

The Independent councillor told the Herald there were no 'hovels' in Ballybough. And he demanded the broadcaster "should apologise at the start of his next programme".

Mr Kenny told the Herald afterwards he had no reason to apologise and never intended to "slight" the residents of the northside community.

On his radio show yesterday, the presenter was commenting on Taoiseach Enda Kenny's remarks about Irish people's "mad borrowing" to buy property during the Celtic Tiger era. The broadcaster stated that anyone could see what was happening in the property market in those days "when a hovel in Ballybough was twice the price of an apartment in Berlin".

Cllr Ring immediately sent a message of protest to the Pat Kenny Show. Mr Kenny told the Herald his remarks were based on his clear memory of a small cottage on sale in Ballybough that was in great need of renovation yet it had an asking price of almost half a million euro during the Tiger era.

"That tiny little cottage needed to be gutted yet it was selling for €490,000. At the same time, you could buy an apartment in Berlin for €250,000," he said.

He said he had no issue with the people of Ballybough and that a property could be let 'go to seed' in any community in Ireland.

"My remarks were not an intended slight on anyone in Ballybough. It was just outrageous that such a property had such an asking price and that people were prepared to pay such prices.

"It's no reflection on the people of Ballybough... I wasn't saying every house in Ballybough is a hovel. Far from it," he said.


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