Monday 5 December 2016

Yates told Newstalk chiefs of decision to quit over a year ago

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

IT’S PERSONAL: Ivan Yates rejects ‘spin’ over departure. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
IT’S PERSONAL: Ivan Yates rejects ‘spin’ over departure. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Ivan Yates has said he made his decision to take a break from his high-profile media career over a year ago - and expressed disquiet at an attempt to "spin" the story to suggest it had anything to do with the €1.6m judgement AIB has been granted against his wife, Deirdre.

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While news of the former Fine Gael agriculture minister's intention to step down from his main role as a presenter on Newstalk's Breakfast Show has been met with surprise by the public, Mr Yates confirmed to the Sunday Independent that he informed the station's bosses that he would be leaving "in late March of last year".

"I don't know who tried to spin that it is to do with my wife's affairs. It's nothing to do with that. It's absolutely to do with our personal situation and actually agreed with Newstalk in late March of last year that I would be leaving at the end of June this year.

"This isn't a sudden thing. It's for all the personal lifestyle reasons that I've given."

His withdrawal from public life will also see Mr Yates stepping down from his roles as a presenter on TV3's Sunday AM programme and as a columnist with the Irish Independent.

He confirmed that the additional two-year period during which the trustee overseeing his UK bankruptcy was entitled to seek to recover monies owed to AIB and his other creditors had come to a conclusion and that his departure from his various media roles was unrelated.

Mr Yates said: "I was very satisfied with the whole legal treatment and the nature of the discharge from the UK. I was treated very fairly by the UK authorities and I just got on with my life.

"The whole point of the UK bankruptcy is that you can make a fresh start. This is now three years on and it's a completely different situation."

Commenting on the AIB's judgement against his wife, Mr Yates added: "In relation to AIB, there is a stay of execution. The court determined on Deirdre's judgment.

"Either way, it's pretty irrelevant because she has minimal income and no assets. I said at the time of that judgment that there was no necessity for it; it didn't advance anything for the bank. That remains the situation.

"This is just to do with our lifestyle and our life situation. It's as simple as that."

Mrs Yates's debt arose out of a guarantee she provided on loans that her husband obtained from AIB for his then business, Celtic Bookmakers, which ultimately went into liquidation in 2011.

While she told the court that she didn't realise her provision of such a guarantee would give the bank the right to pursue her for her family home in Co Wexford, that argument was rejected. The court found she had no defence and granted judgement against her for €1,648,147.

Following his departure from Newstalk this summer, Mr Yates and his wife intend to go travelling for the next year together. It is understood the couple will visit the United States as part of their plans.

Sunday Independent

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