independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Dunphy 'won't rule out' O'Brien apology

BROADCASTER Eamon Dunphy says he is not ruling out making an apology to media tycoon Denis O'Brien.

Mr Dunphy was speaking after he received a hand-delivered letter threatening action from Mr O'Brien's legal team on Thursday night.

The letter -- which demands an apology, retraction and compensation -- follows comments made by Mr Dunphy on his final show on Newstalk.

On his final slot, the outspoken media personality took the opportunity to condemn the businessman during his last moments on air following his decision to resign.

He insisted he wanted to go because of the way the staff was being treated and not because he was asked to take a pay cut of €50,000 a year from the €100,000 he was being paid to host 40 shows.

As he quit the station, which is majority-owned by Mr O'Brien, the author and former footballer labelled it a "slum" and claimed Mr O'Brien "hated journalism".

Speaking to the Irish Independent from his home yesterday, Mr Dunphy confirmed he had received the letter from Mr O'Brien's solicitors, describing it as a "serious matter".

He said that as he was consulting with his legal team, he could not comment on the issue.

He refused to rule out an apology to Mr O'Brien or a retraction of his comments.

The 66-year-old said he was "unsurprised" by the actions of his fellow presenter George Hook, who launched a series of stinging attacks on Mr Dunphy online in recent days.

Mr Hook, who is in Haiti this week with the house-building charity Haven, posted a series of internet comments attacking the broadcaster.

The comments, which have also been published on Newstalk's website, described Mr Dunphy as being like Greece -- "full of crap, but people keep giving him huge money".

He also inferred that he was "controversial by conviction", whereas Mr Dunphy was an opportunist.

Mr Hook, who broadcast his show from Haiti yesterday, also claimed to have found a voodoo doll that was "a ringer for Eamon Dunphy" before adding: "I have stuck a pin in his most obvious feature."

Frothing

Another one read: "The voodoo doll of Dunphy is frothing at the mouth."

His fellow Newstalk presenter Fionn Davenport took some time out from his honeymoon in South East Asia to weigh in on the row earlier this week.

On his Twitter account he wrote: "So Dunphy left as a gesture of solidarity to the staff. For a guy who didn't know anybody's name or was rarely in, that's some gesture."

Mr Dunphy said: "If I was in Haiti I don't think I would be thinking of George Hook. I'm surprised at a mature man behaving this way."

He said he was not looking for a new slot, but he "loved radio" and may return to it.

"I am happy to continue working with 'The Star' and RTE and I am writing my memoirs, which are very important to me and which I will have much more time to do now.

"I do love radio and maybe will be go back there some time," Mr Dunphy said.

Irish Independent

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