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'Kenny not to blame in Tweet row' -- Gaybo defends old rival

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Gay Byrne helps Dr Nina Byrnes launch Hearing Action Week yesterday at Bewleys in Grafton Street, Dublin

Gay Byrne helps Dr Nina Byrnes launch Hearing Action Week yesterday at Bewleys in Grafton Street, Dublin

Pat Kenny was also out and about yesterday, sharing a cuppa with Ava O'Donnell (3) as he helped promote the
Alzheimer Society of Ireland's upcoming tea day fundraiser on May 3, 2012

Pat Kenny was also out and about yesterday, sharing a cuppa with Ava O'Donnell (3) as he helped promote the Alzheimer Society of Ireland's upcoming tea day fundraiser on May 3, 2012

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Gay Byrne helps Dr Nina Byrnes launch Hearing Action Week yesterday at Bewleys in Grafton Street, Dublin

Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne has defended his one-time rival Pat Kenny over the 'Tweetgate' controversy.

He said Mr Kenny was not to blame for reading out a bogus tweet on the 'Frontline' presidential election debate, claiming he could easily have made the same mistake.

"If I had been Pat, I would have assumed that the piece of paper I had been handed had been checked by somebody. I wouldn't blame Pat for it, nor does anybody else.

"A mistake was made on the night, in the rush of the moment and with all the adrenaline pumping," said Mr Byrne.

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, the broadcaster acknowledged that RTE was "having very tough times".

He added that he was "totally and completely flummoxed by" the Fr Kevin Reynolds case in which a 'Prime Time Investigates' programme wrongly claimed the priest had raped a minor and fathered a child by her.

Bizarre

"So much of it is against every principle I was aware of in my 50 years with RTE," said Mr Byrne.

He added: "I am not going to say any more than that about it because I've heard 57 stories about the way it happened, each one more bizarre than the other, so I am going to wait for the investigation to come out before I comment further."

Mr Byrne said these controversies, coupled with tough financial times at Montrose, meant he was yet to learn if his two TV shows, 'For One Night Only' and 'The Meaning Of Life', would return this year.

"We're still waiting for word to see if there are sufficient funds for both shows but I don't know.

"I suppose they (RTE management) have other graver things on their mind. There you are , that's the way life is . . . it's all the same to me," he said.

The broadcaster also revealed that he would soon appear on our TV screens wearing a hearing aid.

The 78-year-old yesterday said his hearing had deteriorated to such an extent that he was already using a hearing aid -- and he plans to use it for all his future TV and radio appearances.

"It won't affect me on TV or radio in any way," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, there is no shame in wearing a hearing aid. To me it's the same as wearing glasses if your sight is bad."

The long-serving RTE star put the blame for some of his hearing difficulties on his broadcasting career.

"For 30 years I sat in a radio studio for five mornings a week with music blasting on so it must have had some effect," he said.

"Funny thing was, to hear what was going on, I used to wear one headphone, not two, and years later the ear on which I didn't listen to music is my good one."

He described the hearing in his left ear as "pretty bad" and spoke of a history of hearing difficulties in his family.

The former 'Late Late Show' host revealed he was undergoing hearing tests and encouraged others to do so as part of Hearing Action Week.

Mr Byrne is helping to promote the awareness campaign around hearing loss -- which he launched yesterday -- run by Hidden Hearing in association with the Irish Deaf Society.

Launched as part of Hearing Action Week, two mobile hearing screening clinics from Dublin and Belfast will tour the country throughout the year, visiting more than 400 destinations nationwide and providing over 10,000 free screenings.

More information can be found on hearingactionweek.ie.

Irish Independent