Varadkar comments about Irish media 'taken out of context'


Irish government minister Eoghan Murphy has claimed that controversial comments by the premier on Irish media were taken out of context.

There have been calls for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to clarify comments he reportedly made at an event in New York.

It has been claimed that he criticised the media at the private event, saying it is one of the few issues he could sympathise with US President Donald Trump about.

It was reported by The Times and Irish Times that when Mr Varadkar was asked about Mr Trump's attacks on the media, he said the media was not interested in the truth but in the story.

Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy

Housing Minister Mr Murphy said his comments had been "taken out of context".

"Myself and the Taoiseach speak about the importance of being available to speak to the media," he said. "That's a cornerstone for local democracy."

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he "unreservedly supports the operation and function of the media" within local democracy.

Paschal Donohoe
Paschal Donohoe

Speaking at an event in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr Donohoe said: "It's an absolutely essential element in how our country conducts itself.

"It's essential that we have a free and independent media that can report on what is happening in our country and scrutinise and evaluate and hold politicians to account.

"I know these are the views of the Taoiseach too.

"I would be very against some of the darker tones that we have seen develop in other countries at the moment."

Mr Varadkar is expected to address the matter at the Dail later on Wednesday.

He was in the US to launch Ireland's bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said his remarks require an explanation.

Taoiseach must clarify remarks on Irish media - @MaryLouMcDonald

-- Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) July 4, 2018

She said: "The comments were very odd. It seems that when the Taoiseach goes to American he seems to lose the run of himself.

"They were very serious blanket criticisms of the media.

"It's very serious that the head of government would launch such an attack in such an indiscriminate way."

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