RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy told a Liveline caller to be ashamed after the caller said Ukrainian refugees staying in hotels should pay extra to access leisure facilities.
The dispute came on today’s broadcast after another caller named Ann said she was canceling her membership at her local hotel leisure center because it was charging Ukrainian residents €5 to use the facility.
A caller named Brian said he also pays for a leisure center membership and would “feel hard” if non-paying refugees at the hotel were also allowed to use the pool and other facilities for free.
“They are [Ukrainian refugees] paid for by the state, which is part of my taxes,” Brian told Mr Duffy.
“If they are [the hotel] I’m taking these people and they’re consistent – so I go up every week, these people are there for free and I pay for them in the pool – I’m going to end my membership,” he said.
Mr Duffy replied: “Well you know what I’m going to tell you Brian, shame on you… Shame on you if you think as far as people from Ukraine using the pool. What does it mean to you?”
Brian in turn challenged Mr Duffy, saying he was “supposedly independent,” which is what the live line The host replied: “You can complain about me to the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) or whatever.”
Brian said he would complain about people staying at the hotel “at my expense.”
“If I go to Ukraine as a refugee from Ireland and they put me in a hotel, I don’t expect… to get a table in the restaurant at night, I don’t expect to get access to the pool. Where do we stop,” he said.
He added he doesn’t expect Ukrainian refugees to get “first class food service” with “my money”.
Meanwhile, Ann, who opened the debate, took the opposite view.
“The way I see it … if they’re staying at the hotel they’re getting paid, whether it’s you, me or the government, if they’re getting paid they should have equal rights and equal access to other people who’re paying for that hotel,” he said you.
Ann added that Brian should “look up the word compassion” in a dictionary.
Leisure center Ann said she is quitting due to her decision to charge Ukrainian refugees staying there for use of the leisure facilities, which the Royal Hotel in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Independent.ie has reached out to the Royal Hotel for comment.
Brian said: “When this hotel allows people to come in and not pay the same price as me, it makes me feel bad. I support the people you speak of, but I don’t expect them to get luxury treatment.”
His views were supported by two other callers to the program.
https://www.independent.ie/news/joe-duffy-shames-radio-caller-who-said-ukrainian-refugees-should-pay-extra-to-use-hotel-leisure-facilities-41589691.html Joe Duffy shames a radio caller who says Ukrainian refugees should pay extra to use the hotel’s leisure facilities