Tuesday 23 January 2018

Sharon Ni Bheolain returns to work and puts 'paparazzi' ordeal behind her

RTE newsreader appeared in tabloids just days after stalker ordeal was made public

TV Presenter Sharon Ni Bheolain
Bryan Dobson and Sharon Ní Bheoláin

THE RTE newsreader Sharon Ni Bheolain has expressed her disgust after she was secretly photographed – just days after news broke she had suffered a six-month ordeal at the hands of a sick stalker.

The 43-year-old appears in a number of tabloid newspapers today - with her choice of dress the subject of some cutting remarks - after she was snapped near her home yesterday.

In a surprising move, Ms Ni Bheolain has gone on RTE’s Liveline this afternoon to reveal how upset she is by the photographs.

“I was probably more upset this morning seeing those photographs than I have been at any stage over the previous six weeks,” she said.

She said she has been more vigilant about her personal safety in recent weeks after she was sent a series of vile and threatening emails and letters – but that she didn’t notice the photographer.

“This was clearly long lens stuff, I’m disgusted,” she said.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened. I rescinded my membership of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) before and got some flak over it... [but] I’m glad I did it.”

She said she would consider going to the Press Council over privacy issues.

One of the articles described her as being “nervous and apprehensive” as she brought a friend’s dog for a walk.

“I’m a working journalist, I scrub up well, and I do look like a dog’s dinner (in these photographs),” she said.

“I don’t live my life thinking that there are photographers on my street

“This isn’t the Karadashians for heaven’s sake

“I wasn’t aware that there was anyone hiding or skulking on my street.”

A 37-year-old suspect – who lives in the Portmarnock area – was released from garda custody last week after being arrested questioned in relation to the correspondence sent to Ms Ni Bheolain.

He has denied any involvement in sending dozens of “vile” letters and e-mails to the mother-of-one.

And the RTE newsreader said she is worried that recent coverage could have an impact on the case, but also expressed

“I can accept that it’s a story in and of itself the following day. I don’t expect it to continue for the rest of the week,” she said.

“I’m very cross that all of this media kerfuffle has hampered the investigation.”

The RTE newsreader said she had generally declined to do photoshoots with newspapers, or to try to build her profile in that way, and that she has had issues with paparrazi-style photographs before

“I didn’t open my mouth, but this morning, I think it’s gone beyond where it’s needed to go. I am upset by it,” she said. 

“I’m sure in time I’ll laugh and my friends will slag me off, but right now I’m upset by it”

“I don’t do photographs. I don’t do spreads. I’m not into that,” she added, saying that she felt the tabloids involved were “disgraceful”.

“I’m my own worst enemy in many way. I am not paid enough to deal with this kind of rubbish,” she said.

Ms Ni Bheolain insisted that she had been dealing well with the fallout from her stalking.

“I’m not shaken and I’m not stirred, or any other of those James Bonds words – I’m absolutely fine,” she said.

“I didn’t even tell my colleagues... I’ve broad shoulders and I’m perfectly able to deal with this on my own.”

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