Outspoken broadcaster Ivan Yates (60) has hung up his microphone today on his popular daily radio show The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk.
It emerged earlier this month that the journalist will also finish up at The Tonight Show on Virgin Media One, which he co-presents with Matt Cooper as well as Newstalk, ending his broadcasting career.
Speaking on his last Hard Shoulder programme last night, he said that his three year long contract is due to expire this summer and that he has decided not to renew it.
“Just want to make it absolutely clear - I’m not retiring, I’m rewiring,” he told listeners.
“I’m going to pivot towards business and do some occasional media event related work, but the idea of being on the hamster wheel of 24/7 media, I’m going to be doing that because I’m not able to do it.”
He served as a former Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture from 1994 to 1997 and began his “out of the blue” media career with Newstalk in 2009 after he was “asked to uproot from Enniscorthy” and present the breakfast show with Claire Byrne and Chris Donoghue.
“My whole sleep pattern was wrong, so much so that I was working at the weekends because I couldn’t sleep on Sunday mornings and so on, so I said that had to end,” Mr Yates recalled.
In August 2017 he was asked to present The Hard Shoulder after previously filling in for George Hook, and as a tribute to his first ever Hard Shoulder show in August 2008, he interviewed the same person today as he did during that first show- the now Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
In his last broadcast interview with Mr Varadkar, the Tánaiste teased that he may follow in Mr Yates’s footsteps and gets his own radio show after his political career.
“You have shown that there is life after politics, so maybe I’ll follow in your footsteps.
“Go and get my own radio show, what do you think?”
He also said that the broadcaster is welcome to re-join Fine Gael.
“Of course, I am still a party leader as you know and now that you’re leaving public life, we’d love to invite you back and have you re-join the party, you’d be very welcome.”
While this is not the first time he has finished up his broadcasting career, he said that he now intends to return to his home town Enniscorthy in Co Wexford.
In a tributes package complied by Newstalk reporter Henry McKean, his wife Deirdre Yates said that he should slow down.
“Love him or hate him, that’s who he is,” she said.
“We will certainly have a lot more fun and looking forward to going back home and bringing our home back to life again.
“But I can’t really see him sitting around, bringing out the wheelie bin too many times.
“For Ivan - slow down. When we got married, he said, ‘Fasten your seatbelt because we’re going on a rollercoaster'.
“By golly, has it been a rollercoaster and I think you’re finally beginning to realise that you need to get off this rollercoaster.
“My message to you is: slow down and take things a lot easier,” she added.
Independent News and Media Group Head of News Kevin Doyle said that Mr Yates had the skill of encouraging guests to say things “they really should not say”.
“Ivan is the only interviewer where you would go in to talk about current affairs, politics, budgets and elections and you’d come out wondering how you had managed to insult your wife, your neighbour, the man you met on the bus that morning, even the dogs on the street,” he said.
“He just had that ability to make you say things that you really, really shouldn't,” he said.
Ending his last ever radio show, the presenter joked that he would go on to do voiceovers for hemorrhoid adverts.
"It's a big plan and I can tell you, they'll pay a fortune for me," he said.
It was his last words that came after a montage of his The Hard Shoulder introductory teasers that really summarised the broadcaster in a sentence: "There's only so much s***e you can take in one day."
A spokesperson for Newstalk said that a replacement for The Hard Shoulder has not yet been announced.