RTÉ removes ‘offensive’ radio comments by Guinness heir

RTÉ has removed from its website what it describes as “offensive” comments made by the brewing dynasty heir Patrick Guinness about Syrian refugees.

In an interview with Ryan Tubridy on his morning radio programme on Monday, Mr Guinness spoke about yesterday’s auction of more than 700 pieces of furniture and art from his 15-bedroom mansion and his decision to sell his family home in Co Kildare.

The 18th-century Furness House, on 34 acres near Naas and acquired by Mr Guinness in 1993, is for sale separately for €2.5m.

The auction of contents consisted of period furniture, paintings, silver, objets d’art, a library of books, carriages and coaches, and garden furniture.

Mr Guinness, 58, said he and his second wife, Louise, had lived in the house for 20 years, but their four children had flown the nest.

“We had two of us in a 15- bedroom house and full of all things we had either inherited or bought and ... we are both pushing 60 so it is probably time for a change.”

Asked by Tubridy where he would live after the auction, Mr Guinness replied: “First of all, we have to sell the house. We may fill it full of Syrian refugees — you never know.”

A clearly bemused Tubridy said: “That would be a very generous thing to do if it’s for real,” to which Mr Guinness replied: “Preferably female aged between 20 and 30.” The radio host said: “Okay, well that’s one of the more peculiar suggestions I’ve heard.” Mr Guinness responded: “Someone’s got to do it.”

An RTÉ spokeswoman said yesterday while they had received no complaints about Mr Guinness’s remarks, the decision to delete his comments about young female Syrian refugees had been taken at editorial level.

“We deemed that the comments he made were offensive,” said the spokeswoman.

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