A Junior minister was allegedly told to leave the studios of Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTE, over fears that republicans were among a group of unemployed audience members of Pat Kenny’s Frontline programme.
Minister Lenihan was a panellist on the first episode in the new series of the Frontline, which was debating the epidemic of unemployment.
The majority of audience members were unemployed people who were there to give their personal experiences and grievances with the Dublin government.
However, it is normal practice after the show that Pat Kenny and his guests mingle with audience members over some refreshments in the ‘green room’. However, RTE security advised the minister that it might be better to avoid this as two of those present were thought to be possible members of Eirigi.
It was claimed that the pair may have intended to somehow ‘ambush’ the minister after his appearance on the live show.
However, Eirigi has said that no members of their organisation were in the audience of the show nor did any apply for tickets.
“The creation of this issue by RTE and the interest it has attracted carries strong undertones of McCarthyite paranoia, which is no doubt motivated by the fact that Eirigi is growing in support among the working class communities who have been affected most by the economic crisis,” said spokesman Daithi Mac An Mhaistir.
“The alleged reaction of Conor Lenihan is indicative of the Dublin government’s attitude towards working people -- when the prospect of engagement with a room full of unemployed people presented itself, Conor Lenihan ran and hid.”
Earlier this month, the Minister become the second Fianna Fail leader to become the butt of international jokes when Lenihan, tasked with the advancement of Irish science and the so-called ‘smart economy’, agreed to launch a book exposing “the fiction of evolution”.
His attendance at the launch was cancelled amid a furore which was overshadowed when the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, was accused of being drunk during a radio interview on the same day.