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Family ganged up to keep me off the air, says Gay


Gay Byrne put plan on hold

Gay Byrne put plan on hold

Gay Byrne put plan on hold

Radio veteran Gay Byrne has revealed that RTE want him back on air to present his Sunday show on Lyric FM - but his family believes he is not up to it at the moment.

The 84-year-old king of the airwaves has been having treatment for prostate cancer since 2016.

Gaybo says he would have liked to do the show and regrets that he will not be able to get back behind the microphone.

However, he said, his wife Kathleen Watkins and daughters Suzy and Crona "ganged up" on him to insist that he must not do it because he is not yet fit enough.

"RTE want me back on the air in January for my little Sunday afternoon programme and I won't be let go," he told the Sunday Independent.


"They just say I'm not up to it at the moment, and I suspect they may be partly right, but nonetheless I greatly regret that I can't do it," he said.

"It was my little outlet, that's all. It was only a Mickey Mouse radio programme on Sunday afternoon but it was an appreciative listenership.

"In fairness, it affects Kathleen as well, because it was her Sunday too."

The Sunday With Gay Byrne afternoon show featured the best of traditional jazz, big band and swing music, mixed with chat.

Speaking about the diagnosis, Byrne said that he had gone through 83 years of robust good health when he never took a tablet of any kind.

"I never needed a sleeping pill, I never needed any of those things," he said.

"Then suddenly - wham, out of the blue, you cross the road from the pavement containing happy, healthy, vigorous athletic people to the other side of the street where all the invalids are and where the people who are sick are, the people who are disadvantaged and so on. It is a completely different life.

"As my surgeon - one of my surgeons - said to me recently, 'It is not a question of getting cured of cancer; you just manage the cancer. And you keep going to the best of your ability'."

Meanwhile, Kathleen's book Happy Christmas, Pigin! is set to be published and is likely to feature on many festive wish lists. It's a follow-up to her 2016 bestseller, Pigin of Howth.