Mooney so sorry after 'bad hair' quip to cancer patient

GAFFE: Star's remark shocks TV viewers

Conor Feehan

RTE presenter Derek Mooney has been forced into a grovelling apology after he joked at a cancer sufferer's choice of headwear on live TV.

The red-faced star was forced to apologise to Mairead Lynch after asking if she was having a bad hair day because she was wearing a turban.

The embarrassing gaffe happened during RTE1's live Millionaire Raffle Draw on New Year's Eve.

Ms Lynch's boyfriend, Stephen McGinn, had been called up by Mooney to help with the draw live on air, and when the RTE star asked him who he was with, Stephen pointed out his girlfriend, her mother, aunt and sister in the audience.

Derek then spied Mairead's black headgear and said: "Why is she wearing that little thing on her head? Is it a bad hair day Mairead?"

Dubliner Mairead looked stunned before answering: "You could say that, yeah."

Mairead had been having chemotherapy for cancer and was wearing the headgear because of the hair loss she had suffered as a result. Stephen McGinn, from Clontarf, tried to defuse the situation by saying: "It's a bit cold outside."

He has confirmed that Mooney apologised to Mairead after the show.

"He told us he'd never said anything like that before. It was an off-the-cuff remark and he thought Mairead was wearing a novelty hat, because most other people in the audience were," said Stephen.

But Mooney's gaffes did not stop there. When another audience member was asked to help draw a second millionaire he was commented on about his crooked tie.

"Who let you out tonight, for heaven's sake?" Mooney asked Dubliner Jim Fitzsimons before straightening his blue tie.

"Fix your tie. Is your wife with you in the audience?" Mooney asked him, before adding: "And she let you out like that. What were you doing with him in the audience for heaven's sake."


Mooney's comments live on air were commented upon on parenting website, where one contributor asked: "Is anyone else appalled by his comment on the millionaire show about the lady 'having a bad hair day'? Has he any brain at all to be so insensitive?"

Another poster wrote that there was "no excuses for such cruelty".