RTE under fire from Archbishop

Archbishop Eamon Martin has criticised state broadcaster RTÉ over a “deeply offensive and blasphemous” clip that ran as part of the station’s NYE Countdown show.

The programme, broadcast on RTÉ One on New Year’s Eve, featured a sketch by satirical group Waterford Whispers News.

In it, a mocked-up news report featuring former RTÉ news presenter Aengus Mac Grianna claimed that God had been arrested over “sexual harassment scandals”.

Mr Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, denounced the sketch in a statement on Twitter on Friday.

He described the sketch as “deeply offensive”, “outrageous” and “insulting to all Catholics and Christians”.

He wrote: “I am shocked that producer/editor of ‘NYE Countdown Show’ @RTE @RTEOne didn’t realise how deeply offensive was a mocking ‘news report’ accusing God of rape & reporting his imprisonment. This outrageous clip should be removed immediately & denounced by all people of goodwill.

“To broadcast such a deeply offensive and blasphemous clip about God & Our Blessed Mother Mary during the Christmas season on ‘NYE Countdown Show’ on @RTE, @RTEOne & on Eve of the Solemn Feast of Mary, Mother of God is insulting to all Catholics and Christians.”

The archbishop tagged the RTÉ director general Dee Forbes in his tweets.

In the sketch, Mr Mac Grianna reads a mocked-up news story in which God has been arrested over “ongoing sexual harassment scandals”.

He said: “The five-billion-year-old stood accused of forcing himself on a young middle-eastern migrant and allegedly impregnating her against her will, before being sentenced to two years in prison, with the last 24 months suspended.”

A man dressed as God is seen being led away by a member of the gardaí, and is heard shouting “It was 2,000 years ago.”