Adam Boulton defends ‘you Irish’ tweet after Coveney criticism

Sky News presenter says he was responding to stream of abuse following interview

Adam Boulton interviews Tanaiste Simon Coveney on Sky News on Friday

Adam Boulton interviews Tanaiste Simon Coveney on Sky News on Friday

 

Sky News presenter Adam Boulton has defended his Twitter comments following his interview with Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

“Bored now. Some of you Irish need to get over yourselves. Interviewing is about challenging the interviewee not respecting,” he tweeted.

He told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that he was responding to a stream of abusive messages following his interview when he posted the tweet.

“People appeared to feel justified because I had challenged an Irish Minister. The comments were tedious, that’s why I was bored.”

He said there were many sides in a political argument but he was keen to avoid the ‘cybernats’ in Scotland and the ‘Corbynistas’ who are prevalent on social media.

The veteran reporter pointed out that he has worked many times in Northern Ireland and was aware of the political situation. He said he deals with the reality of the North all the time, but he was aware it is an “extremely sensitive issue” for some.

His interview with the Tánaiste was an opportunity for Mr Coveney to give his point of view, he said.

From the British government’s point of view, he added, the biggest difficulty was with the DUP.

The feeling was that early reports on RTÉ “sounded a bit triumphalist”.

A deal reached by European Union and British negotiating teams on Friday set out guarantees on not having a hard border in Ireland. A previous agreement had been reached on Monday, guaranteeing “regulatory alignment” between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This deal broke down following opposition from the DUP.

In the wake of the new agreement being announced, Adam Boulton asked Mr Coveney: “Do you think this week’s kerfuffle has been necessary, I mean do you feel slightly guilty that perhaps the Irish Government over-briefed what had been achieved as a victory over the British for the European Union?

“That provoked the DUP and if you had been a bit more straightforward about a practical agreement at the beginning we wouldn’t have had these four days of turmoil.”

The interview received strong criticism on social media, with many accusing Boulton of being “arrogant” and “condescending” in tone.