Stephen Nolan helped pull down Stormont, claims top SF member

Former Sinn Fein Executive member Jim Gibney made his claims in a column in the Irish News
Former Sinn Fein Executive member Jim Gibney made his claims in a column in the Irish News

A leading Sinn Fein figure has accused broadcaster Stephen Nolan of undermining the political process and helping collapse the Stormont institutions.

The claims were made by former Sinn Fein Executive member and former prisoner Jim Gibney.

Writing in the Irish News, Mr Gibney said more could be achieved in political talks in future if the DUP “faced down” internal dissent – and if Stephen Nolan adopts a different approach.

He recommended the multi award-winning broadcaster “adopt[s] the style, tone and content of William Crawley’s ‘Talkback’ when it comes to issues pertinent to the development of the peace process and political processes”.

He continued: “For the second time in less than two years Stephen Nolan has used his show in what I regard as a divisive and destructive manner, (What is new you may ask?)

“He helped collapses the north’s institutions over the heating financial scandal and he helped scuttle the most recent draft agreement.”

Mr Gibney did not elaborate on how he believed Mr Nolan carried some responsibility, nor did he mention the role of then Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness in pulling down the Executive, when he resigned from his office in January last year, which automatically collapsed Stormont.

As he resigned Mr McGuinness said DUP leader Arlene Foster had a “clear conflict of interest” in the RHI scandal and that her position was “not credible or tenable”. He added: “Today is the right time to call a halt to the DUP’s arrogance.”

Mr Gibney claimed there were “signs of a popular opposition growing on the airwaves rejecting Nolan’s style of journalism”.

He added: “The award winning actor John Connors last week refused to take part in the Nolan show. He said he is ‘boycotting’ the show because of Nolan’s ‘disgusting mockery’ of the Irish language and instanced the treatment of Seanador Niall O Donnaghaile by Nolan who repeatedly tried to force a laugh from the Seanador over the insulting comment, ‘Curry my yogurt’ by the DUP’s Gregory Campbell.

“The same interview has generated 10,000 signatures on an online petition calling on Nolan to apologise to the Irish-speaking community for his disgraceful attitude during the interview.

“And while this is highly unlikely he could at least try to properly pronounce the surname of the Seanador, with whom I work, and take a crash course in how to pronounce the names of other Irish language speakers and organisations who take part in his shows.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The Nolan Show is an important and inclusive platform for debate.”