Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh has hinted that she will not be rejoining The Afternoon Show later in the year.
Despite claims to the contrary from RTE, the flame-haired star has told several friends and colleagues that she does not intend to return to the programme as a co-presenter alongside Sheana Keane.
RTE announced yesterday that Sheana, who was absent from work due to "personal reasons" last March, would return as the host of the sixth season, alongside temporary stand-in, Sile Seoige.
However, Blathnaid has not as yet stepped down as judge in the All-Ireland Talent Show.
A press release from RTE states that Sile will be "stepping in temporarily for Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, who is unavailable to start the show as she is recuperating following a minor procedure". However, mum-of-four Blathnaid, who has presented the programme for the past five years, has insisted to those closest to her that she cannot return to the programme, in light of the negative press she has endured for the past six months.
Just before the series broke for the summer, it emerged that the RTE veteran was being investigated by an internal tribunal as a result of bullying allegations made by her co-star Sheana Keane.
The Meath presenter has suffered ill health for the past two years and friends believe the ongoing scandal surrounding The Afternoon Show has exacerbated the situation."She's not well at all at the moment," said a friend. "She's been in and out of the doctor's office all summer and the added stress of all the bad press she's been getting certainly hasn't helped.
"After all that's been said in the media and everything that's been going on behind the scenes over the past few months, it would be very difficult for her to work beside Sheana every day.
"She's seriously considering taking some time out to spend a year with her kids.
"She's been working there for 20 years, so God knows she deserves it," they added.
Blathnaid has suffered repeatedly with stomach problems since she was struck down with a twisted bowel, resulting in surgery, the year before last.