Alan Cantwell breaks his silence on TV3 return after three years: 'I couldn't get a US visa'
His departure from TV3 in 2012 was one of the more shocking moves in Irish media.
After 14 years at the station, Alan Cantwell spoke of his desire to "draw a line in the sand" and move on to future projects.
But after three years away and even a stint on the dole, Alan returned to Ballymount in 2015 and it was like he never left. Cantwell has finally revealed the reasons for his shock return, saying he found it too difficult to secure a work visa in the US.
"I had a number of agents working for me in the US," he told Star Chic magazine. "One of the biggest issues I had was securing a work visa because at the time, we were in a the depths of a depression, as was the United States.
"The case was that it was US citizens that would get the job first. That was the rule they had at the time so it became increasingly difficult to break in to the States."
Cantwell, whose wife Denise and has daughters Harriet (10) and Charlotte (13) were supportive of his decision, has been candid about his hiatus from the media, even describing signing on to the dole in his local Dun Laoghaire in 2013 - noting the last time he was there, he was a teenager signing up for a FAS course.
"In 30 years, little has changed from the outside, apart from a coat of paint and new signage," he told the Herald at the time.
But the 48-year-old news anchor said one of the reasons he decided to step back from TV3 was to spend more time with his family. "I was usually working the three to midnight shift. I'd see them in the morning and I'd pick them up from school or the creche and then I'd be gone," he added to the magazine.
The father-of-two said he is confident there will be a "role to play" in his network's future, which is now owned by Virgin Media.