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Monday 20 November 2017

Newstalk presenter alleges Dunphy didn't know any staff names

Mark Hilliard

TWO Newstalk presenters have hit back at Eamon Dunphy over caustic comments the controversial pundit made about the station, saying he didn't even know anyone's name there.

Another presenter called on Mr Dunphy to apologise for his remarks after he referred to the station as a "slum" and accused management of attempting to interfere with editorial content.

Mr Dunphy denied that his decision to quit was linked to a 50pc pay cut for his €100,000, 40-show deal.

Yesterday fellow presenter Fionn Davenport said on Twitter: "So Dunphy left 'as a gesture of solidarity with the staff'. For a guy who didn't know anybody's name or was rarely in, that's some gesture."

Mr Davenport, who presents 'Davenport After Dark' and who is currently on honeymoon, was referring to comments made by Mr Dunphy that he was acting in solidarity with fellow broadcasters and Irish Independent journalist Sam Smyth, who was recently sacked from Today FM, the sister station to Newstalk.

'Breakfast Show' presenter Chris Donoghue also criticised Mr Dunphy's comments on air yesterday, saying they had been offensive to staff.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, he said: "I think Eamon quite possibly had a legitimate argument with management, we all have those.

"I hope he didn't realise the collateral damage he had caused to staff because they really took it to heart, particularly the use of the word 'slum'.

"I think Eamon is a decent guy and I hope that when he realises the offence he has caused to the staff he will apologise."

But that looked unlikely last night.

Controversial

The veteran broadcaster, no stranger to controversial stand-offs, was sticking to his guns. Refusing to react to Mr Davenport's tweet, he said: "I wouldn't have any comment on that."

However, in relation to Mr Donoghue's suggestion that ordinary staff members had been offended by his use of the word 'slum', he said: "I was responding to the working conditions, not the journalism."

At about 12.30pm yesterday, some 50 staff members were called into a meeting.

A station source said they were addressed by Frank Cronin, the chief executive, and Mr Dunphy was "the only issue" on the agenda.

"He just said that we were let down, that we are the station of the year, all of your books (ratings) have gone up, people are voting with their dials and don't let this distract you," the source said.

Irish Independent

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