Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ is facing criticism after broadcaster Joe Brolly was pulled off air for saying the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is homophobic and racist.
Brolly made his comments during a debate about how a united Ireland could be achieved on RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live.
The debate saw figures from political parties in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland debating if or when a border poll on Irish reunification should take place.
During a virtual appearance, the DUP’s Gregory Campbell insisted that a united Ireland “isn’t going to happen”, telling host Claire Byrne that he and many other unionists are British.
Brolly, a Gaelic football commentator from Derry, Northern Ireland, later hit out at the DUP for “laughing at the Irish language, laughing at Gaelic sports, the homophobia, the racism, all those things”.
Byrne tried to interrupt Brolly to point out that Campbell “might deny some of those charges”, but the outspoken commentator refused to stop speaking.
“The man’s not here to defend himself and I’m not going to do it for him,” Byrne eventually said. “I’m going bring the conversation back into the studio,” before cutting off his video link.
Joe Brolly taken off air for saying the DUP is ‘homophobic’
Writing on Twitter after the incident, Brolly said: “I was taken off air and told it was because RTÉ could not risk me saying the DUP were homophobic, racist or sectarian. I must apologise to the DUP at once.”
In the same tweet, Brolly shared screenshots of comments made by Campbell and Ian Paisley Junior about Black people and gay people.
Since the episode aired, Brolly has shared details of various controversial statements made by high-profile DUP figures about gay people, including Sammy Wilson and Edwin Poots.
“Really, really, really sorry. Apologies again to RTÉ One and the DUP,” Brolly wrote in one tweet, along with screenshots of news articles showing DUP politicians comments about LGBT+ people throughout the years.
Countless people took to social media to express their frustration at seeing Brolly removed from the programme over his comments about the DUP.
The DUP has faced unrelenting criticism from the LGBT+ community over the course of several decades for comments made by some of its MPs.
Earlier this month, DUP MP Sammy Wilson faced resounding backlash when he told constituents in an email that “those who wish to avail themselves of conversion therapy and those who wish to practice it should be allowed to do so”.
Just days later, former DUP politician Jim Wells claimed in a BBC Radio Ulster debate on conversion therapy that there are “many members of the LGBT community who are not comfortable with their sexuality who want to explore opportunities to make changes in their lives”.
PinkNews has contacted RTÉ and the DUP for comment.