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I wanted to deck Gay Byrne over interview with mum – Casey's son


Annie Murphy with her son Peter in 1996

Annie Murphy with her son Peter in 1996

 Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy

Annie Murphy in Riverside, California, in 2012

Annie Murphy in Riverside, California, in 2012


Annie Murphy with her son Peter in 1996

THE son of Bishop Eamon Casey wanted to "deck" presenter Gay Byrne for the way he had treated his mother during the explosive 'Late Late Show' interview that revealed his existence.

Peter Murphy (39) admitted that he "freaked out" and was "a blithering mess" after meeting his father for the first time in a lawyer's office in 1990 – two years before Annie Murphy went public with her story.

He has also expressed his belief that his own birth – which led to the beloved Galway bishop's fall from grace – was one of the catalysts resulting in a changed Irish Catholic Church.

Mr Murphy, who now works as a salesman for an electronics company in Boston, told TV3 documentary makers that he was proud of his mother for her handling of Gay Byrne.

In his parting words to Annie Murphy, Byrne had said: "I hope his son will be half the man his father was," prompting an outburst of applause from the audience.

Revealing his reaction at the time, Mr Murphy said: "I'm an only child to a single mother. I wanted to fly across and deck him. The first thing you want to do is drop him."


In reply, Ms Murphy had told Byrne: "I'll settle for part of that but also I'm not so bad myself as you'd like to think."

Her son said he had been very proud of her, saying: "What I loved the best is my mom's response.

"You have to understand when you're an only child. It's beyond just a mother-son relationship. You are friends.

"The way my mom said (I'm) not half-bad either and knowing my mom with that wry little smile and the way she just got up and just walked out . . . I was like 'Hell, yeah, you tell him'."

Mr Murphy revealed that he "freaked out" after meeting his father for the first time, but only because his mother was threatening to break her silence over his birth.

"We were in a law office. My absolute memory of the event isn't word for word, but it was me trying to engage him and him having really no interest in engaging back with me.

"It was so emotional, I remember it affected me really badly, I freaked out," he explained.

"I ran out of the room and went down the elevator and I was a blithering mess."

Mr Murphy believes that his birth changed the way the church operated in Ireland.

"I had no idea it would explode like it did," he said.

"I wasn't lost to the political influence the church had in this country for so many years. It wasn't lost upon me as I saw things changing fairly drastically in how the church was slowly but definitively separating from the State. I doubt I was the reason. I just got born, but was this story a catalyst to those things? I think so."

Mr Murphy flew over from the US to give TV3 presenter Donal MacIntyre the first Irish interview concerning one of the most significant scandals to hit the church here.

The interview is contained in the series 'Print and be Damned', which airs on August 8 at 9pm on TV3.

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