Mary Cogh­lan walks out of ra­dio in­ter­view

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

SINGER Mary Cough­lan said that she knew in her heart that walk­ing out of a live ra­dio in­ter­view on Mon­day was ‘ the right thing to do’.

She left the in­ter­view with Ivan Yates on Mon­day evening, in protest at com­ments about rape made by Ge­orge Hook the pre­vi­ous Fri­day.

Mary, who lives in Kil­macanogue, ex­pressed reser­va­tions about ap­pear­ing on the Newstalk show ‘ The Hard Shoul­der’ at all in ad­vance of the broad­cast. She was to ap­pear on the pro­gramme to talk about her forth­com­ing tour.

She strug­gled with her de­ci­sion. ‘I nearly did bot­tle it,’ she said. How­ever, with the en­cour­age­ment of her fam­ily, Mary made her on-air protest.

‘They are con­don­ing his [Hook’s] be­hav­iour al­low­ing him stay on air,’ she said yes­ter­day.

Mary told Yates she would not be con­tin­u­ing with the in­ter­view be­cause of Hook’s re­marks.

She said that it ‘ wasn’t the first time’ Ge­orge Hook had made com­ments about women. She apol­o­gised to Ivan, say­ing that it was noth­ing per­sonal to him, be­fore leav­ing the stu­dio.

‘I talked to my kids about it,’ said Mary yes­ter­day. ‘I made a silent protest. I got up and I walked out. The sta­tion’s pol­icy has vin­di­cated what Ge­orge Hook said. He has been taken to task nu­mer­ous times and they have let him get away with it. It didn’t mat­ter whose show it was.’

Mary said that since the broad­cast she had re­ceived some ‘ re­ally heart­break­ing’ emails and mes­sages.

‘Th­ese were from women who have been raped and are afraid to come for­ward be- cause of stuff like this,’ she said.

When asked what she thought of an apol­ogy sub­se­quently re­leased by Ge­orge Hook, she sim­ply said: ‘F**k the apol­ogy. This has been go­ing on for­ever. Women have been re­garded as pos­ses­sions go­ing back to Baby­lo­nian times. It’s not a man’s right to do that to any­one – a woman, a man or a child. But it’s still con­tin­u­ing and Newstalk ac­tu­ally con­done that be­hav­iour when they do not sanc­tion Ge­orge Hook.

Hook’s com­ments were met with out­rage last week. While the broad­caster was dis­cussing a UK rape case in which it was al­leged that a woman who had sex with a mem­ber of the UK swim team af­ter meet­ing him in a bar was later raped by an­other man in the same ho­tel room.

‘But when you then look deeper into the story you have to ask cer­tain ques­tions. Why does a girl who just meets a fella in a bar go back to a ho­tel room?’ asked Mr Hook. ‘She’s only just barely met him. She has no idea of his health con­di­tions, she has no idea who he is, no idea what dan­gers he might pose.

‘But mod­ern day so­cial ac­tiv­ity means that she goes back with him. Then is sur­prised when some­body else comes into the room and rapes her. Should she be raped? Course she shouldn’t. Is she en­ti­tled to say no? Ab­so­lutely. Is the guy who came in a scum­bag? Cer­tainly. Should he go to jail? Of Course. All of those things. But is there no blame now to the per­son who puts them­selves in dan­ger? You then of course read that she passed out on the toi­let and when she woke up the guy was try­ing to rape her. There is per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause it’s your daugh­ter and my daugh­ter.’

Rape vic­tim Fiona Doyle is among those to have crit­i­cised what Hook said.

Fiona’s fa­ther Pa­trick O’Brien (79) from Old­court Av­enue­was sen­tenced in 2013 to 12 years in prison with three sus­pended for the sys­tem­atic rape and sex­ual abuse of his daugh­ter at their home in Dun Laoghaire from 1973 to 1982.

‘Women have the right to be drunk. They have the right to say no. They have the right to walk down the street naked if they wish. Men have no right to rape a women and peo­ple like Ge­orge Hook need to stop cir­cu­lat­ing the mes­sage that women are to blame,’ said Fiona.

‘No man has a right to touch a women. It’s that sim­ple.’

The pre­sen­ter and the ra­dio sta­tion have is­sued apolo­gies in the wake of the con­tro­versy. Dalata Ho­tel Group, which owns Clay­ton Ho­tels, has is­sued a tweet in which it said the com­pany would ‘ter­mi­nate our com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ship’ with the sta­tion.

If you have been af­fected by this is­sue you can con­tact the Dublin Rape Cri­sis Cen­tre on 1800 778 888.

Mary Cough­lan.

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