Comedian Colin Murphy, a regular contributor to RTE's current affairs satire programme The Panel, has launched an extraordinary attack on political journalists, describing them as "f**king arseholes" with big egos.
Murphy also criticised changes made to The Panel after it moved from RTE Two to RTE One last year. More political stories were covered on the programme in what some saw as an attempt to mimic BBC quiz Have I Got News For You.
"There was a feeling that because it was RTE One, people who watch RTE One don't want to be entertained," Murphy said.
"They want to hear about politics instead. The problem is that very little happens politically in Ireland and we just don't have the big political personalities you get in England. What we have are bland, beige jumped-up county councillors. Try making comedy out of that. It's a disaster."
Murphy reserved most of his bile for Ireland's political journalists, some of whom were guests on The Panel last season.
"I absolutely hate political journalists," he said. "I think they are f**king arseholes. Their egos are bigger than the people they are dealing with. They think what they do is incredibly important when all it is is just gossip. Their sense of humour is the sort they would have in the bar after they have been in the Dáil. All in-jokes."
Asked to comment on Murphy's perception of political correspondents, Fionnan Sheahan, political editor of the Irish Independent, who was a guest on The Panel last season, said: "He is entitled to express his opinion. If that's his view, that's his view."
An RTE spokesperson declined to comment but confirmed that submissions had been invited for a similar type of programme. "The Panel reached the end of its present season recently. As when any series comes to the end of a run, a review process begins."