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Joe Blow Joe Duffy shames man who said refugees should pay extra for hotel leisure facilities

"If they’re [the hotel] taking in those people and they’re consistent – so every week I go up those people are there free and I’m paying for them in the pool - I’m going to stop my membership,”

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Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy

RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy told a Liveline caller he should be ashamed of himself after the caller said Ukrainian refugees staying in hotels should pay extra for access to leisure facilities.

The argument happened on today’s programme after another caller, named Ann, said she was withdrawing her membership to her local hotel leisure centre because it was charging Ukrainian residents €5 to use the facility.

A caller named Brian, said he also pays a membership for a leisure centre and he would feel “hard done by” if refugees in the hotel, who are not paying, are also allowed to use the pool and other facilities free of charge.

“They’re [Ukrainian refugees] paid for by the State, which is part of my taxes,” Brian told Mr Duffy.

"If they’re [the hotel] taking in those people and they’re consistent – so every week I go up those people are there free and I’m paying for them in the pool - I’m going to stop my membership,” he said.

Mr Duffy replied: “Well you know what I’m going to say to you Brian, shame on you… Shame on you if that’s the extent of you’re thinking about people from Ukraine using the pool. What’s it to you?”

Brian challenged Mr Duffy in return by saying he is “supposed to be independent”, to which the Liveline host replied: “You can complain about me to the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) or whatever.”

Brian said he would complain about people who are staying in the hotel “at my expense”.

“If I go to Ukraine as a refugee from Ireland and they put me up in a hotel, I don’t expect… to be given a table in the restaurant at night, I don’t expect to be given access to the pool. Where do we stop,” he said.

He added he doesn’t expect Ukrainian refugees to be given “first class dining service” with “my money”.

Meanwhile, Ann, who started the debate, was of the opposite view.

“The way I see it… if they’re a resident of the hotel, they’re being paid for regardless of whether it’s you, me or the Government, if they are being paid for, they should have equal rights, equal access as other people who pay for that hotel,” she said.

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Ann added that Brian should “look up the word compassion” in a dictionary.

The leisure centre Ann said she was quitting due to their decision to charge Ukrainian refugees staying there for use of the leisure facilities, was the Royal Hotel in Bray, Co Wicklow. sundayworld.com has contacted the Royal Hotel for comment.

Brian said: “If that hotel is going to allow people to come in and not pay the same rate as me, I feel hard done by. I support the people you are talking about, but I don’t expect them to get luxury treatment.”

His views were supported by two other callers to the programme.

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