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Newstalk and host Ciara Kelly sued by practitioner of alternative therapy over comments made on radio show

The lawsuit relates to comments made by Kelly on a February edition of her Lunchtime Live Newstalk show.

4 Dr Ciara Kelly Source: Rollingnews.ie

NEWSTALK AND ONE of its presenters Dr Ciara Kelly are being sued in the High Court by a medical practitioner concerning comments Kelly made on her radio show.

The case was first taken by Thomas Edward Gabriel Stewart on 23 February.

Stewart is a qualified GP originally from Co Galway, currently based in Portlaoise, who practices a form of alternative medicine known as chelation therapy.

His website states, in his biography, that “a number of heart patients at his practice experienced dramatic results after travelling to the United States for chelation therapy”.

On 2 February 2018, Kelly interviewed Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell, a pharmacist, as part of the ‘Health Matters’ section of her Lunchtime Live show, in a segment dealing with ‘proposed legislation concerning unproven cancer treatments’.

The segment is no longer available on the station’s podcast or ‘listen back’ sections.

3 Dr Gabriel Stewart Source: Chelation Ireland

‘Unreserved apology’

On 7 March, an ‘apology and clarification’ appeared on the Newstalk website saying that both the station and Kelly “wish to take this opportunity to unconditionally withdraw the views expressed by Dr Kelly and to apologise unreservedly to the doctor concerned”.

Such an apology is often made in defamation cases, as a means to mitigate potentially adverse findings against a defendant.

The following day Kelly and Newstalk officially registered their legal representation, Meagher Solicitors, in the case with the High Court.

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Chelation therapy is an alternative branch of medicine involving the administration of chelating agents – substances which ‘grasp heavy metals and remove(s) them from the body via the kidneys’, according to a 2005 Irish Medical News article cited on Stewart’s practice, Chelation Ireland’s, website.

The process sees various substances (including different vitamins and folic acid) administered to a patient via mostly intravenous treatment.

Chelation has been used to treat various conditions, including heart disease and, controversially, autism.

Both Kelly and Newstalk itself declined to comment on the case.

Contacted by TheJournal.ie for comment, Dr Stewart said: “I cannot discuss these matters, I don’t wish to make any comment.”

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