A Fair City conspiracy theorist, who also holds right-wing views, is a ploy by scriptwriters to make his views seem ‘abnormal’, a conservative commentator has claimed.
The long-running RTÉ soap opera has recently introduced a new character to viewers called Fergal.
What makes Fergal stand out from other characters is his strong views on a number of topical issues - which he is not afraid to share.
“I think it’s great that Fergal is in Carrigstown,” Stefanie Preissner told The Hard Shoulder.
“Fair City has always kind of represented the public and they’ve always kind of kept on top of things - they had the first gay kiss.
“Soaps are very important in the lives of people who watch them and there are, unfortunately, people like Fergal out there who believe these things.”
Ms Preissner said Fair City has a “huge responsibility” to develop the character responsibly and to use him to inform viewers about certain issues.
“You could make Fergal this sort of genius who saves Carrigstown or you can highlight the dangers of fascism and these conspiracy theories,” she said.
“He’s been out saying… that ‘Ireland is full’, that he’s anti-refugee, he has some very strange feelings about women.
“So, I’m interested to see what they do with this character but I’m very glad that he’s in.
“There’s a lot of people on Twitter calling for his removal and I think removing him because you’re offended by him is just causing more of this problem.”
Gript Editor John McGuirk said he does not watch the show but noted it is unusual for Fair City characters to have strong views on political matters.
“I don’t recall anyone else’s views being depicted on the show particularly,” he said.
“Stephanie mentions this guys represents 4, 5, 6% of the population - whatever it is.
“But there’s another 4,5, 6% of the population who you might meet in the pub who would go on blathering at you the whole time telling you everything is the patriarchy’s fault and how we need to do x, y and z on climate change.
“No one with those political views ever gets represented on television because apparently the people who make these shows consider those people to be the norm.”
Mr McGuirk said while some of Fergal’s views are odd, he suspects RTÉ have created him to present right-wing views as a "a little bit abnormal or unusual".
“Obviously, they are going to play up stuff like, ‘Moving away from cash is a boon to the banks,’” he said.
“But there are other views the character may have in relation to immigration, for example, which aren’t fringe at all.
“Sixty percent in the most recent opinion poll on the matter… believe that immigration is too high.”
Fair City airs on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday on RTÉ.
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Main image: The Fair City set.