Dave Fanning says: 'Fiction's not my thing' on the Gerry Ryan tell-all book
Asked why he would not be reading 'When We Dance', the memoir of Gerry Ryan's partner Melanie Verwoerd, Dave Fanning told the Irish Independent: "I like reading biographies, fiction is not really my thing."
Fanning recalled in his own memoir how Gerry Ryan was "someone who was by my side through my career, whom I holidayed and lived with".
Fanning had remained silent about the book detailing Gerry Ryan's last days by the late broadcaster's partner until now.
As thousands of copies of 'When We Dance' were returned to Irish bookshelves yesterday, and in a direct response to Fanning's comments, Ms Verwoerd told the Irish Independent last night: "People should read 'When We Dance' and form their own opinion based on the actual content.
"The book tells the true story of my life. As someone who has fought for freedom of speech all my life, I respect everyone's right to comment on what I say in the book -- but only after they have actually read the book."
Fanning's comments are the most dismissive yet from any of Ryan's friends. His friendship with Ryan dated to before RTE in 1978 when both men met while DJs on Dublin pirate radio station 'Big D'.
However, there was support for Ms Verwoerd last night from best-selling Irish author Paul Howard, the creator of the Ross O'Carroll Kelly series of books, who spoke out after a series of attacks in the media on Ms Verwoerd by major Irish celebrities.
"I feel terribly sorry for Melanie Verwoerd the way the establishment, and media establishment, is closing ranks. I have an instinctive hatred to that sort of thing," he said.
"Whether she was right or wrong to write the book, we have something in this country called free speech and she should be allowed to tell her story. That is sad to see in the Ireland of 2012. There was a legal issue (about this book) which had to go to court but the legal issue didn't relate to the idea of Melanie Verwoerd writing her book, which she is perfectly entitled to do," he told the Irish Independent.
Meanwhile, publishers Liberties Press said last night that they had received "major wholesale orders for the book after a challenge to its distribution was struck out in the High Court.
Sales of the autobiography had been halted two weeks ago when the late RTE star's friend Dave Kavanagh claimed in the High Court that the book had defamed him.
However, copies were put back on shelves after a clarification was read out in court acknowledging that "David Kavanagh was and remained a good and loyal friend to Gerry Ryan", and a slip referring to Mr Kavanagh was added to each book.
Last night Eason booksellers in O'Connell Street said they had nearly sold their entire stock with the book only going on sale in late afternoon.