RTÉ broadcaster Joe Duffy on Tuesday took part in a heated debate with Michael Healy-Rae over Kerry TD’s comment to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in the Dáil telling him to “go with the airy fairies”.
Mr. Healy-Rae joined Duffy live line yesterday afternoon to discuss the issue and clarify what he meant by the comment.
Mr Varadkar took offense after the Kerry TD said: “You are not a man to look down on me.
“I’m just as well chosen here as you are.
“Let’s go with the airy fairies and we’ll see what good it does you.”
The Kerry native said his use of the phrase referred to something that was “nonsensical”.
“I can’t apologize because I have nothing to apologize for.
“Away with the fairies or away with the airy fairies is a term I use a lot,” he said.
“Every time I’ve used it, I’ve used it to describe something I would consider nonsensical.”
Mr Duffy said RTÉ checked the Dáil record and Mr Healy-Rae used the phrase “four times”.
“You didn’t use it as a noun. You used it as an adjective, but you didn’t use it in relation to people. Now use it as a noun. Who are the airy fairies?’ said Mr. Duffy.
“When you used the phrase ‘away with the airy fairies,’ you said that to Tánaiste, do you know that Tánaiste is gay?”
Mr Healy-Rae accused Mr Duffy of not letting him speak during the interview and repeatedly asked the presenter to “give him a chance to speak”.
“Joe, can I start by trying to say I’ve had a number of attempts at conversation now and the only guy speaking now is yourself because you won’t give me a chance to talk. Can I answer the questions or not?” he said.
“I would never seek to offend or upset anyone, and the Tánaiste knows it.”
Mr Healy-Rae told Mr Duffy that the dispute over the comment had become “one-sided”.
“Can I explain to you how one-sided this whole argument has become when the Tánaiste said that perhaps I didn’t understand an answer he had given a few minutes earlier, if I wanted to be selective with the Tánaiste I could have stood up and looked at him and said, ‘Well, do you mean the fact that I’m dyslexic?'” he said.
Mr Duffy interjected: “Ahh no, ahh no, no, you used the word dyslexia, you’re saying that dyslexia is the same as homosexuality? Dyslexia is a disability, homosexuality is not a disability.”
Mr Healy-Rae again asked if he could “make the point I was trying to make”. He said: “It’s extremely unfair when I start making a point and you cut it off and finish it for me. Can I make the point that I made Joe please? You called me and asked me to come over.”
Mr Duffy said he was taking the audience’s seat as Mr Healy-Rae had said he would only get on the program when he “no longer needed to speak to the audience”.
Mr Duffy added: “So I have to take the listener’s seat, unfortunately that’s my job today.”
Mr Healy-Rae said Mr Varadkar knew in his “heart and soul” that it was not his intention to offend the Tánaiste.
“Whatever people choose to do in their personal lives is nobody’s business but their own and if they want to let other people know, like Leo Varadkar did, I would of course give him absolutely nothing but good luck and happiness at what.” whatever way he lives,” he said.
“But if anyone takes what I said yesterday as an insult or an attempt to insult the Tánaiste, I tell you now, that was never my intention, it never would be my intention.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/i-dont-have-anything-to-apologise-for-insists-healy-rae-41481000.html “I don’t have to apologize for anything,” stresses Healy-Rae