RTE presenter Sean O'Rourke 'sorry' for giggling at hunger strikers comment

Irish radio presenter, Sean O'Rourke.
Irish radio presenter, Sean O'Rourke.

Irish radio broadcaster, Sean O'Rourke, has issued an apology after he laughed at a comment he made about Irish republican hunger strikers last week.

Mr. O'Rourke's actions caused outrage on social media with some people calling for him to be removed from RTE.

Mr. O'Rourke issued his apology on the radio on Monday morning.

"I just want to clarify something from Friday's programme," he said.

"I read out a quote from the late Liam Cosgrave, telling the then Cardinal Conway, also now dead, that 'water was too good for the hunger strikers'.

"The point of reading out those words - and they did cause me to laugh - was to highlight how Cosgrave, a devout Catholic, was prepared to dismiss so bluntly the efforts of Church leaders to influence his government’s attitude towards hunger strikers."

Mr. O'Rourke added: "There was a big hunger strike going on in 1977 and it wasn’t in any way by reading out that quote intended to disrespect the prisoners undertaking hunger strike either then or later, I’m sorry for giving that impression to some of our listeners.”

Two (Patsy O'Hara and Michael Devine) of the 10 republican prisoners who died while on hunger strike in Long Kesh in 1981 were from Derry city.