Tommy Tiernan: It Won’t Go Away
Deaglán de Bréadún
I see from today’s Sunday Tribune that the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland has called on comedian Tommy Tiernan to apologise for his rant about Jews and the Holocaust. There are many critics of Israeli policies towards Gaza and the West Bank but they should not allow those matters to detract from the point at issue here.
Are we really supposed to think this is funny? Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto 1942 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
One of the depressing features of this controversy is the failure of non-Jewish people in this country to come out and demand that Tiernan do the decent thing and issue a full and wholehearted apology for his obscene outburst.
Apart from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the only other public objectors I am aware of are the Jewish Representative Council, Deputy Alan Shatter of Fine Gael and the film producer Louis Lentin.
It would be nice if some of the broadcasters who have given Mr Tiernan a platform over the years were now to say to him, in unequivocal terms, “Cop yourself on, Tommy.” Who are Tiernan’s advisers or does he listen to anyone on an issue like this?
Ambassador Evrony sums it up: “When the topic is that of mass murder and genocide based on the propagation of racial hatred, the right of humorous comment cannot be absolute.”
In other words, freedom of speech does not include the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre.