Ivan Yates denies media departure due to wife's financial problems
Ivan Yates is taking a year off from his various media roles to travel around the US with his wife.
The former Agriculture Minister's main public role is as a presenter of the Breakfast Show on Newstalk.
He will be departing in July and also stepping down from his jobs as a presenter on TV3 and as a columnist with the Irish Independent.
Mr Yates has presented the Newstalk programme since 2009, apart from his 16 months in Wales when he emerged from bankruptcy. The former Fine Gael TD will be stepping back from public life and travelling around the US with his wife, Deirdre, for a year.
But Mr Yates has categorically denied his departure is related to his wife's financial difficulties after AIB secured a €1.6m debt judgment against her.
"I am saying categorically this is completely unlike my departure to Wales and which was quite brutal. This is absolutely by choice," he said. On whether this departure was down to Deirdre's finances and if she was now seeking bankruptcy, he said this was "absolutely" not the case.
Mr Yates said he will be making the move this summer. "From early July, I have decided, in a considered way, to take a step back from public life," he said.
"I've been presenting since April 2009. I never thought I would be getting away with it for this long. I have decided it is time to take a break," he added.
He does not rule out working with any of the media organisations in the future.
"Who knows? I may reconnect again or that may not happen," he said. Mr Yates will spend the time travelling. "I will be more out of the country than in the country. I am going to be 57 in October. I have been working for 40 years. I owe it to my wife," he added.
And as for his long-suffering sidekick and co-presenter, Chris Donoghue, who has to put up with his jibes each morning: "Like every sucker, he deserves an even break. He'll finally get someone to treat him with a bit of respect."
Mr Yates returned to his media roles in 2013 following his filing for bankruptcy in the UK on foot of the collapse of his Celtic Bookmakers chain. He spent 16 months living in Swansea to complete the terms of the bankruptcy.
Last night, Newstalk said Mr Yates had notified the station of his departure.
"He has made a decision to withdraw from all of his media commitments for the foreseeable future due to personal reasons," the station said.
Newstalk said changes to the programming schedule will be announced at a later date. The search is now under way for a successor and the station is believed to be looking at a number of high-profile broadcasters.
The case against Deirdre Yates arose out of a guarantee she gave on April 13, 2010, towards €6.7m in loans for the expansion of the Celtic Bookmakers chain, which was run by her husband. In January 2011, the bank appointed a receiver over Celtic, which went into liquidation.