Mayo County Council have apologised to mourners after they allowed comedian Tommy Tiernan to dress up as a priest and parade around a grave yard with a fake coffin as part of an RTE comedy show.
Individuals paying respects to their loved ones were horrified when they visited Toomore burial grounds in Foxford Co Mayo and found Tiernan dressed as a priest and filming a sequence for upcoming RTE comedy show The Hardy Bucks.
Several members of the parish contacted local priest Fr Padraig Costello to complain about the behaviour which they felt was disrespectful.
Fr. Costello stressed to parishioners at weekend Masses that the local cemetery committee had not given permission for filming.
“Only Mayo County Council has the authority to allow filming”, Fr Costello explained.
Local Fine Gael councillor Neil Cruise had told parishioners that he did not believe the film crew had permission from the council to use the cemetery to the extent they had done.
However, last night the county council confirmed that production company Hardy Films had secured clearance from Mayo County Council and had worked within guidelines provided.
Marie Crowley, Head of Ballina Municipal District, said; “The County Council did give permission for the filming subject to certain conditions all of which were met by the production company or their agents.
“We regret any upset felt by the local community and acknowledge the sensitivities around this type of activity particularly in a graveyard setting.”
Producer with Hardy Films said that the crew had acted with sensitivity.
“We went through the correct protocol and everything was above board,” producer Michael Caine said.
“The crew made sure not to feature any headstones or graves in the shots. We treated the graveyard with care and respect.”
Martin Maloney who plays Eddie Durkan in the series said he was deeply sorry any offence had been caused.
“The last thing we wanted to do was upset people,” he said. “Our show is all about making people laugh. It would never be out intention to deliberately upset anyone. It’s unfortunate that this happened.”
Tommy Tiernan was not available for comment.
Last month the BBC came under fire for booking Tiernan to star in one of its radio shows - only for the comedia to make Arlene Foster the butt of an offensive gag live on air.