Ryan Tubridy responds to criticism about his comments about climate activist Greta Thunberg which "caused a lot of upset"

Ryan Tubridy responds to criticism about his comments about climate activist Greta Thunberg which "caused a lot of upset"

RTE PRESENTER Ryan Tubridy has come under fire over the past 24 hours following his comments about climate activist Greta Thunberg's impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

As we reported on earlier, Ryan Tubridy had criticised the Swedish teen's tone during her speech, particularly her use of the phrase "how dare you", saying "no one likes to be addressed that way".

The Late Late Show host had said that while watching the 16-year-old's speech he was not thinking about the climate-- the entire point of the speech-- rather, he was thinking about his own daughter and wondering what he would do if he was Greta's father.

"I'd rather an 18-year-old did that than a 16-year-old," Tubridy said on his RTE Radio show yesterday. "I do understand that it's a youth-led movement but I just worry is she alright? Is she being minded?"

Ryan Tubridy on the set of the Late Late Show (Picture Andres Poveda)

He went on to say that the Swedish girl, who single-handedly sparked the millions-strong revolution which has led to several countries announcing a climate emergency, should be "brought home" and "go for a walk with [her] ma or [her] da".

Critics were quick to denounce Tubridy's comments as patronising and missing the point, with some arguing that if adults with a large audience-- such as Tubridy himself-- had been using their platform to speak on the importance of climate change, then the 16-year-old would never have had to attempt to change the world by herself.

Now the presenter, speaking on his morning radio slot RTE Radio One, has addressed the criticism, saying he wished to clarify his comments but that he was not defending himself or apologising.

He said the comments "came from the heart, just a genuine concern for a young person on that stage".

"My concern yesterday was for a young person and for her health and wellbeing, that's all."

Greta Thunberg began her solo school strike one year ago. Last week saw approximately 4 million people striking for the climate across the globe. (Getty Images)

He said that he had not seen the critical comments on social media himself as he chooses not to spend much time online, but that friends and family had warned him about what people were saying, and he acknowledged that his comments "have caused a lot of upset to some people".

He also clarified what some people saw as the infantilisation of people with Asperger's syndrome, saying: "In relation to these comments I made about Greta Thunberg's speech to the United Nations, I think there might have been confusion about a pairing of Asperger's syndrome as a mental illness but that wasn't the case or what was intended at all."

"Don't forget we spoke to Denise yesterday [on the radio show], a mother of a boy with Asperger's-- she spoke on air and explained the nuances of it and didn't have any issue with what we had said before,"

Tubridy finished by saying he supported the youth-led movement, saying "Never underestimate my love and appreciation for the next generation, please don't."