Tuesday 21 October 2014

Watch out for the seduction of Vincent Browne, Madam

Published 08/07/2007 | 00:00

WHERE to now for Vincent Browne after RTE Radio 1's admirable axe-wielding boss Ana Leddy dealt him the unkindest cut of all and dropped his show, Tonight with Vincent Browne?

A month ago when we asked Browne if he was in discussions with Newstalk 106, he replied "total rubbish".

The entertaining exchange went as follows: "We've heard that you're joining Newstalk, Vincent."

"That is the first I've heard of it. I've literally never even heard any speculation about that. It's complete rubbish. Who told you that?"

When we put it to him that our source was reliable, he replied: "Your source is completely bonkers."

Such a dismissal is intriguing, when you consider his 'declaration of interest' in the current Village, his less-than-lucrative labour of love, that "In June I had three brief phone discussions . . . about working for Newstalk".

After 10 years on the radio, a clearly disappointed Vinnie told one of his remaining employers, The Irish Times, of his immediate plans to pen a biography of his former political bete noire, the late Charles Haughey. According to the esteemed paper of record, Browne's plans to commit to print the Squire of Kinsealy's life were agreed with publishers Random House on the very day RTE Radio announced its decision to consign his late-night show to the annals of Montrose history.

It was almost inevitable, given that the audience had dropped so dramatically in recent years. All that sighing and mocking of guests might have gone down well for five years, but in the end, it got very tedious.

Add to that the fact that most politicians with a tad of self-esteem wouldn't go near the show and so it was left to a bunch of actors and journalists to trot out the latest tired twist from the tribunals.

But will the prolific Vincent be content with simply penning an Ode to Charlie while writing his columns for The Irish Times and Sunday Business Post?

When it comes to the print media, the seduction may have already even begun. Readers of the letters page in Thursday's Irish Times may well have agreed with the points being made by a certain Mr Ted Verity of Wellington Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 when he wrote in to criticise Browne for his sceptical remarks on the recent terrorist attacks in the UK.

But in his testy screed, Mr Verity neglected to tell Irish Times readers that when he is not writing letters to Madam, he is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Irish Mail on Sunday and Irish Daily Mail.

With that piece of intelligence, Ted's opening gambit that Vincent is "always highly entertaining" should have Madam Editor Geraldine Kennedy forewarned that she could be in danger of losing one of her brightest and best contributors to the Mail.

After all, the paper has already become the graveyard of a few tired old hacks.

Liam Collins

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