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Kielty apology for Madeleine jokes

By Margaret Canning

Published 21/09/2007

Ulster comedian Patrick Kielty today apologised after audience members walked out of a Dublin show when he cracked jokes about missing Madeleine McCann.

Members of the audience at the Olympia Theatre on Wednesday night are reported to have walked out after the jokes sending up the disappearance of the child, who was taken from an apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal in May.

The act is believed to have included a joke about the visit of her devout Catholic parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, to Pope Benedict at the height of their campaign to raise awareness of the case across Europe.

A spokeswoman for 36-year- old Mr Kielty, who is from Dundrum in Co Down, said the comedian apologised to anyone who may have taken offence.

She said: "More than 1,000 people attended [the] show and the small number of walkouts reflects the sensitivity of those few people, rather than the content of the show.

"Patrick is a comedian and the material was written to reflect the media's changing attitude towards the case and should be taken in that context.

"He performed the exact same material last week in London with no complaints whatsoever."

Mr Kielty, who appeared in a Grand Opera House production of Marie Jones' play One Night in November last month, is the latest Irish comedian to attract flak for using the Madeleine case as inspiration for comic material.

Sean Hughes was condemned for also constructing a gag around the McCanns' visit to the Pope when he appeared at a literary festival.

Mr Hughes said afterwards that his intention had not been to add to the McCanns' hurt.

"I would never in any way denigrate any of their feelings - losing a child is the worst thing you can go through," he said.

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