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Dunphy under fire for SF bias on radio

BROADCASTER and infamous motormouth Eamon Dunphy is in hot water today over his shameful backing of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

The journalist once again failed to show impartiality in a broadcasting career which has seen him lavish adulation in interviews with the likes of Charlie McCreevy and Mary Harney in the past.

Newstalk bosses will today be forced to respond to allegations that the presenter showed "disgraceful" favouritism during a presidential radio debate.

Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell became embroiled in a petty slagging match with the broadcaster -- branding him a "terrible showman" and accusing him of showing bias towards McGuinness.

The row broke out on Dunphy's radio breakfast show and has raised questions over the presenter's ability to be impartial during the campaign.

The radio host today defended his performance and accused Mitchell of being "out of control and completely unreasonable".

"Mitchell came into the studio determined not just to abuse McGuinness, but to abuse me," he said.

Attacks

The row took place during a day of attacks from Fine Gael on the Ulster MP's IRA past.

Fine Gael Minister Phil Hogan rowed in on the war of words with Sinn Fein, warning that major multinational firms would flee the country if a "terrorist" were elected president.

And the Government's chief whip Paul Kehoe launched a scathing attack on Twitter, accusing McGuinness of being part of the 2004 Northern Bank raid. But the tensions between the presidential pair came to a head on Dunphy's radio show, with MEP Mitchell slamming his rival of "lying" over his IRA past.

"Myself and my brother had a very difficult start in life but we didn't take to the gun," Mitchell remarked. "This man says he is not a member of the IRA and hasn't been since 1974 - that's not true, Martin.

"You say you live on the average industrial wage - you earned €200,000 last year."

But McGuinness hit back, again claiming that voters have no interest in his IRA past.

"I'll let the people of Ireland decide. All over the island of Ireland, nobody asks me 'Martin, when did you leave the IRA?' because I think they know I have been at the heart of all the enormous changes that have happened in the North."

Dunphy has admitted publicly that he intends to vote for the former IRA chief, describing him as "head and shoulders above the other candidates".

He said: "There is no conflict of interest. I believe there is nothing wrong with a broadcaster being up-front and honest with his political views".