Sunday 18 February 2018

Terence Flanagan on that car-crash interview: 'The work all took its toll on me. I was completely exhausted'

Terence Flanagan, who is running as a Reform Alliance candidate
Terence Flanagan, who is running as a Reform Alliance candidate

Daniel McConnell, Group Political Correspondent

Renua TD Terence Flanagan has broken his silence on his “car crash” interview on RTE radio last month, saying it was because he was “exhausted.”

Mr Flanagan denied it was a panic attack as had been suggested at the time.

“It was one interview too many for me, I was exhausted,” he said.

Mr Flanagan said he knew instantly that the interview was “bad, very bad” but he said it was one of those things.

Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio One, Mr Flanagan said the six month run up to the Renua launch earlier in the day had “taken its toll” on him and that he was “very exhausted.”

He said: “There was a six month run up to the launch. It all took its toll on me, I was exhausted. It was an early start, a 6am start. I did a few interviews in the morning and they went very well.  We celebrated at lunch but by the late afternoon the adrenalin was fading.”

“It was just a human situation, I had put myself under huge pressure which wasn’t sustainable,” he said.

Mr Flanagan also paid tribute to DriveTime anchor Mary Wilson for the compassion and humanity she showed to him during the interview.

“The questions she asked were very fair and she was very humane in her approach,” she added.

“I was searching for the words, and they weren’t there. Sometimes the body gives up when you are pushing it too hard. All of that took its toll on me,” he said.

Mr Flanagan said he it was very difficult that evening watching his party leader Lucinda Creighton on the Late Late Show as he felt he had let her and other party colleagues down.

“It was terrible moment. I felt I let down my colleagues, my family and myself. It was a tough few days,” he said.

Mr Flanagan  name checked Fine Gael Senators Tony Mulcahy and Martin Conway, Fianna Fail TD Colm Keaveney and Senator Terry Leydon as those who were most supportive of him in the wake of the disastrous interview.

He said that in the moments after the interview finished many people including porters in Leinster House were very kind to him and that he was greatly encouraged by the outpouring of sympathy from members of the public.

“When you have a great family, a great girlfriend, I  did question myself, but I will continue to work very hard for my constituents,” he said.

He rejected suggestions that he is likely to lose his seat at the next election despite a constituency boundary redraw.

He said he was eager to do the interview live rather than  a pre-record and was glad he had done it.

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