Friday 28 July 2017

Radio star won't face charges over plane incident

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

RADIO star Neil Prendeville will not face charges over a controversial incident on an Aer Lingus flight last year when he was alleged to have engaged in a lewd act.

Gardai had submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) after they received complaints about an incident on the Heathrow-Cork flight on October 19.

They have now been informed that no further action will be taken.

The decision clears the way for the UTV-owned radio station, 96 FM, to restore the outspoken broadcaster to the airwaves.

Mr Prendeville hosts the station's flagship morning show but has been off the air since November 3 when reports of the alleged incident first emerged in the media.

The radio star was alleged to have first exposed himself and then masturbated while seated in the front row of the Aer Lingus plane en route to Cork.

Mr Prendeville later insisted that he had absolutely no recollection of the incident after consuming painkillers on top of three pints of Guinness, three bottles of lager and a copious amount of wine.

He vehemently denied having taken any type of drug such as cocaine -- and said he would undergo blood tests to confirm that fact. Gardai formally launched an investigation into the incident after receiving a complaint.

They spoke with Mr Prendeville and all the passengers seated near him at the time.

Opinionated

Those contacted as part of the garda probe were informed yesterday that no further action would be taken.

Mr Prendeville has declined all comment on the matter after his initial statements in the wake of the controversy erupting.

His show -- the most listened to radio programme outside Dublin -- has been hosted over recent months by PJ Coogan, a news reporter with 96 FM.

Industry experts acknowledged that his return to air will shatter the show's existing audience figures -- 100,000-plus -- and will also likely deliver the station's biggest ever on-line listenership.

But one station source admitted that there is concern over the future format of the show given the nature of the controversy and the broadcaster's highly opinionated style of presentation.

The broadcaster -- who earns €150,000-plus per annum from 96 FM -- also admitted he felt suicidal in the wake of the coverage of the incident.

Irish Independent

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