THE SON of Father Ted actor Dermot Morgan believes Ireland is a racist country and must look “uncomfortable truths in the eye”.
Don Morgan, a barrister and father-of-three, has been thrown into the spotlight in recent days after taking to Twitter to defend his father’s comedy and legacy.
It came after a small minority on social media called for an episode of Father Ted, titled ‘Are You Right There, Father Ted?’ to be removed from streaming services.
Several sitcoms and sketch shows, including Little Britain, League of Gentlemen and Fawlty Towers have been removed from on demand television services amid concerns of the use of “blackface” make-up and “racial slurs”.
Any similar criticism of Father Ted appears unfounded.
The episode was created to poke fun at attitudes towards race in Ireland with Ted repeatedly trying, and failing, to prove to Craggy Island’s Chinese community that he is not racist after being caught doing an offensive impression.
Don nevertheless felt the need to speak up on behalf of his late father, who sadly passed away in 1998, aged just 45.
All my family have left of my father is his work and reputation. He abhorred racism of every type and actively worked against it. Whilst insignificant compared to the suffering and upset of victims of racism, you might forgive me for feeling more than a little sad about this. https://t.co/SWr9N4k81M
— Donnchadh Morgan (@gutenmorgan) June 11, 2020
He tweeted: “All I have left of my father is his work and reputation. He abhorred racism of every type and actively worked against it.”
“Whilst insignificant compared to the suffering and upset of victims of racism, you might forgive me for feeling more than a little sad about this."
Explaining his decision to speak out, Don told RTE Radio One’s Sunday with Miriam today: “My tweet was written more in sorrow than in anger. I’m not outraged or upset about anything in the sense that tastes and standards and viewpoints change over time.
“There was a lot of chatter on social media about the episode, and I felt the sorrow of realising that there is a shelf life to someone’s legacy.
“You do find yourself becoming aware of the fact that they’re not there anymore to preserve the legacy, and you become quite sensitive to the fact that he can’t speak up.”
Despite defending Father Ted against such criticism, the barrister believes Ireland must do more to talk about and address the racism that remains within its society.
“There is a conversation going on, and a necessary conversation about race,” he said.
“And in Ireland, are we a racist country? You bet we are. And we do have uncomfortable truths that we have to look at in the eye.”
Don said that he doesn’t know what his father would make about the ongoing conversations around comedy but he does believe he would likely see them as “an inevitability”.
“Comedy is something that requires life - it requires somebody telling the joke and an audience understanding the assumptions that underpin the humour,"” he added.
A father of three boys, one of who is named after Dermot, Don says it’s still “lovely” to watch his late, great dad on the classic sitcom and he’s even shown his sons a few episodes.
“I find watching Ted, it’s lovely. He’s still knocking about, and you do get to forget that he’s dead.”