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File image of Graham Norton during filming of a recent episode of The Graham Norton Show Alamy Stock Photo
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Fermoy welcomes Graham Norton ‘setting the record straight’ after guest called town ‘horrible’

An audience member who lived there for 20 years called it a ‘horrible town’.

FERMOY TOWN IN Co Cork has received a “great boost” after Graham Norton apologised for comments made about town on a recent episode of his BBC chat show.

A Scottish woman named Zoey was participating in the ‘Red Chair’ segment of The Graham Norton Show.

Audience guests are invited to tell a story on the Red Chair, but if it’s deemed to be boring, Norton or celebrity panellist can pull a lever that dumps them off the chair.

Zoey told Norton that she lived in Fermoy for 20 years and labelled it a “horrible town”.

She added of the town: “It’s got a bridge if people want to jump off it.”

patrick-street-fermoy-town-county-cork-ireland File image of Patrick Street in Fermoy Town, County Cork Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In last Friday’s episode, Norton said he “must begin with an apology”.

“Last week, there was someone on the Red Chair and they were less than kind about the town of Fermoy in Co Cork in Ireland,” said Norton.

“Well suffice to say, the people of Fermoy… not happy.

“So we’d like to apologise. In fairness, I did defend Fermoy and said it was the home of the ‘Big Pencil’, but sadly I must apologise again because apparently the giant pencil has been removed.

“On the upside, Fermoy did win cleanest town in Ireland in 2007 and 2018 so I’d imagine it’s still pretty clean. Big up Fermoy.”

Noel McCarthy, chair of Fermoy Tidy Towns and a Fine Gael councillor, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the town is “very happy” and “really appreciated Graham apologising to the town on Friday night”.

“It was a great boost for us because as you could imagine, the comments from Zoey the week before really upset us here in Fermoy and especially our Tidy Towns committee,” said McCarthy.

He added that the Tidy Towns committee “felt a little disappointed about those comments and we wanted to put the record straight”.

McCarthy also revealed that the Tidy Towns group had sent a letter to The Graham Norton Show following Zoey’s comments.

“But we didn’t get a response,” said McCarthy, “only to hearing the response that we got on Friday night.”

He added: “We’re hoping that the letter did get there in time, but if not, I’m sure with social media that picked it up all week, his researcher might have got the message that we were disappointed.

“He started off his programme the other night with the apology, saying Fermoy is not happy and that’s exactly what we were. We weren’t happy with the comments.”

While McCarthy said “no publicity is bad publicity”, he added that “at the same time we wanted to put the record straight”.

“We are famous now, we encourage people to come to Fermoy and the right message has been sent out with the apology on Friday night,” said McCarthy.

He added that if Zoey were to apologise, he is certain that the people of Fermoy would welcome it.

McCarthy has also sent an invitation to Norton to visit Fermoy.

“We’ll show him around and hopefully then again that will give us a good light with but we really are grateful and thank him very much for apologising to us on Friday night,” added McCarthy.

And when asked about the disappearance of the giant pencil, McCarthy allayed fears and confirmed that it’s still there.

“The big one that Graham was referring to was taken down and put in with a sign saying that the Faber-Castell factory, which was the factory that made the pencil, is still here in Fermoy and we’re very proud of that too and there is a signpost on that pencil saying where the factory is.”

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