One of Ireland’s top broadcasters has described this country as a “cold house for Christians” after the Broadcasting Authority rejected complaints in response to the ‘haunted bread’ incident on The Late Late Show.
George Hook sharply criticised the findings of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) last week that there was “no offence caused” when panellists on RTÉ’s flagship talk show earlier this year described the Eucharist as “haunted bread” and compared receiving Holy Communion to cannibalism.
Speaking on his Newstalk radio show, Mr Hook compared the incident to the “furore about Kevin Myers’ views about Jews and women in his column” which resulted in Mr Myers being sacked by The Sunday Times, saying “his journalistic career might well be over”.
“Imagine then in the same week that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland said there was no offence caused by some outfit called the [Rubberbandits] on The Late Late Show on January 6 when they offended the majority religion on this island. By majority I mean over 80% of the people in the last census declared themselves to be Christians,” he said.
“They offended, showed contempt and cared little for the beliefs of a majority of people on this island.”
Questioning whether other faiths would be treated in the same way, Mr Hook said “they felt free to do it because it was Christianity”. “Make no mistake about it, Ireland is now a cold place for Christians.”
He went on to criticise presenter Ryan Tubridy, who chaired the discussion, saying it was “difficult to believe” he “actually complimented them and said it was a great description”. “Is this what we pay a licence fee for? Is this what we pay a half a million a year or thereabouts to a presenter, to mock all Christians faiths?”
Mr Hook also said it was “extraordinary” and baffling that the reason the BAI gave for rejecting the numerous complaints about the incident was that the panellists were articulating “their own personal views”, and said he would use that as his defence the next time the BAI receives a complaint about his own radio show.