Outburst over Kenny earnings on show


RTÉ FRONTLINEpresenter Pat Kenny was forced to cut short an interview with Minister for Social Affairs Mary Hanafin last night when a member of the audience began shouting abuse at him.

Kenny was nearing the end of his interview with Ms Hanafin when the middle-aged man, with dark hair and wearing a yellow checked shirt, launched into an outburst against Kenny and other high-earning presenters in RTÉ.

He accused Kenny of being paid €600,000 for 11 hours’ work a week and said he was paid €900,000 before the economic adjustments, which he claimed was a disgrace.

The man was allowed continue for three or four minutes. He alleged that Kenny had no right to pontificate about social welfare, or people who had no means, nor had the other 20 top earners in RTÉ. He repeatedly claimed that Kenny had no authority to make judgments on others.

To the visible discomfort of other audience members around him, the man said he had been waiting 20 years to challenge Kenny.

He compared the presenter to Ms Hanafin, whom he said the electorate could vote out. He alleged there was no way of getting rid of Kenny.

After some time, the camera turned back to Kenny, who remained silent throughout the outburst. He thanked the man for his contribution, adding that on the programme everybody tries to have a voice.

However, when he tried to continue the interview, he was continuously interrupted by the man who continued to shout from the audience.

Eventually, Kenny said it was impossible to continue the interview and went to a commercial break. The man then left the studio and the RTÉ building.

This was the second time that Kenny has experienced such disruption during a live broadcast. A live transmission of The Late Late Showhad to be interrupted when an audience member approached Kenny in an attempt to air a personal grievance. The same man was later arrested for attempting to drive through the security barrier at the RTÉ studios.