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Andrew Lynch: Tubridy's a shrewd operator but offering Murphy a voice would be crass and thoughtless

Ryan Tubridy has always been a shrewd political operator. If RTE's golden boy had stayed a member of Ogra Fianna Fail, the chances are he would be a junior minister today at the very least.

To have risen to the top of such a shark-infested profession as broadcasting while still well short of his 40th birthday suggests that his diplomatic skills are almost as good as those of his hero, JFK.



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That's what makes his gaffe over the convicted rapist Larry Murphy all the more shocking. With less than two weeks to go before the resumption of the Late Late Show, Tubridy has caused outrage by declaring that he would be happy to interview Murphy on the programme.

Tubridy's flip-flopping on the issue does not exactly inspire confidence. On his radio programme this morning he said he would be "shocked" if Murphy appeared on the show, but did not take the opportunity to rule it out altogether. Are we supposed to think that RTE's star presenter is just a small cog in the big Late Late Show wheel, with no say in who he gets to interview or not?

Tubridy should accept that since he was the person who stirred up this hornet's nest in the first place, he is the only person who can now put it to bed.

He should apologise for his mistake, make it crystal clear that the Murphy interview will never happen and move on.

If the comment was made to drum up publicity for his second season as host, he has certainly succeeded -- but it was still a crass and thoughtless suggestion that he was wise to distance himself from as quickly as possible.

Larry Murphy has had more than a decade to apologise for the horrific actions that landed him in jail. Not only has he never taken that opportunity, he even refused the rehabilitative treatment for sex offenders that might have gone some way towards making him fit to re-enter the community.

To give this sick pervert a platform on the country's most-watched television programme would not just be a nauseating spectacle -- it would also have been an unforgiveable insult to the woman he came within minutes of killing.

Tubridy's foolish remark suggests that he may have been trying to emulate the shock-jock tactics of Gerry Ryan, whose show he has just taken over on 2FM. Gerry famously enjoyed winding up the nation by claiming to have killed and eaten a lamb or revealing the intimate details of his sex life.

However, he always knew when he had pushed things too far -- and instead of attempting to be a pale imitation of his late friend, Tubridy would be better off playing to his own considerable strengths.

If Tubridy has any lingering doubts over whether Larry Murphy would make a suitable guest, he should head into RTE's archive department and dig out the tape of one of Pat Kenny's worst ever Late Late Show moments. In September 2006 Kenny interviewed Jake Goldenflame, a convicted paedophile who admitted to having sex with his daughter while she was just a toddler.

Viewers watched in horror as he acknowledged that he was often tempted to re-offend, his eyes darkening when he recalled gazing at a child he had seen having an ice cream in Dublin that very afternoon.



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The Late Late Show has a history of stirring up controversy. As hard as it is to believe now, there was so much uproar when Gerry Adams first appeared in 1994 that Gay Byrne refused to shake his hand.

An interview with Larry Murphy would not just make that incident look like a fuss over nothing -- it would drag a once-great programme into the gutter.

Ryan Tubridy has always said that his dream guests would be Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Tony Blair. He's now made it clear he doesn't want to add Larry Murphy to that list.

He should now go even further and declare that neither Murphy nor any other sex offender will appear on the Late Late as long as he is in the presenter's chair.