Belfast Telegraph

Derry Girls star Tiernan 'reported to police' over stand-up remarks about unionists

Tommy Tiernan
Tommy Tiernan
Arlene Foster
Karen Bradley

By Staff Reporter

Derry Girls star Tommy Tiernan is at the centre of a storm after a number of people walked out of one of his Belfast shows at the weekend in protest at what they claimed were his foul-mouthed rants about Northern Irish politics and religion.

The Donegal-born stand-up comedian was said to have singled out Secretary of State Karen Bradley and a number of unionists, including DUP leader Arlene Foster, for particular vitriol.

But other people who were at one of his shows said Tiernan poked fun at both sides of the political divide.

A DUP councillor in Belfast said he was contacted by constituents who were in the audience to complain that they had been deeply offended by Tiernan's "anti-unionist" remarks.

In a tweet, Councillor Dale Pankhurst said that he'd had "numerous calls from unionists who had to get up and leave the Tommy Tiernan concert (actor in Derry Girls) in the Ulster Hall due to comments made regarding contentious issues".

He said he understood that some people had asked for a PSNI investigation to be started.

One concert-goer who didn't want to be named said Tiernan used four letter words to describe a number of politicians.

"He really overstepped the mark. I'm slow to anger but setting aside what he said and who he said it about, it was his language which I found to be completely misjudged," they said.

Tiernan, who plays a downtrodden father in Derry Girls, is known for his outspoken attacks on a wide range of individuals and organisations, including the Catholic Church, during his comedy routines.

On social media, a number of people said they had been surprised that Tiernan had included so much material on politics and religion in Belfast.

On Facebook, one man from Carrickfergus said in a message to the comedian: "Went to see the show last night at the Ulster Hall.

"Really disappointed in the political stuff. I didn't think you done all that. Only made bearable by the fact the sound system was awful and we could hardly hear. We left half way through."

Another poster said he had loved the Ulster Hall show on Sunday night but added that "it had been marred by a five minute political rant about the DUP and about East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson".

He added: "Surely Tommy your own personal political views shouldn't be turned into a political rally on stage?"

Tiernan had three sell-out shows in Belfast over the weekend, one in the Waterfront Hall and two in the Ulster Hall.

One person at the Friday night show in the Waterfront said there wasn't anything overly offensive and he didn't notice anyone walking out.

Mr Pankhurst's tweet sparked a huge debate online, with many people saying that anyone going to a Tiernan concert should know what was in store because his humour was "very close to the bone".

One poster compared going to a Tiernan gig with attending a concert by the Wolfe Tones and being offended at hearing a rebel song.

Another said that Mr Pankhurst had ensured that Tiernan's next few gigs would be sell-outs.

Tommy Tiernan's management in Galway said it wouldn't be making any comment on the claims about the Belfast shows.

Two years ago the BBC apologised for an "inappropriate" joke that Tiernan made in a Radio Foyle interview about Mrs Foster.

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