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I'd have kicked Dunphy out sooner, says O'Brien

TYCOON Denis O'Brien declared today that Eamon Dunphy quit Newstalk for financial reasons and nothing else.

"Dunphy left because of money," claimed the media magnate.

Mr Dunphy refused to comment on the assertion when contacted by the Herald.

Mr O'Brien said that if he could have, he would have stopped Mr Dunphy broadcasting his final Newstalk show, in which he claimed that Mr O'Brien "hates journalism".

The manner in which Mr Dunphy quit the station caused a bitter falling out with the media tycoon. Mr O'Brien has today adamantly rejected Mr Dunphy's claims that he opposes journalism and he accused the soccer pundit of resigning over a pay cut.

Writing today, Mr O'Brien claimed that he was opposed to Mr Dunphy's final show and revealed how the pair's dispute dates back to 2006. "If I had the editorial control as alleged I would not have allowed his final programme to be aired.

"I doubt RTE or any other print media company would have taken that risk.

"After his first stint at Newstalk in 2006, he described me as 'bitter . . . small-minded'. He was subsequently rehired in 2008. So much for my supposed editorial interference."

He added: "When it comes to Dunphy's diatribes and vitriol I find myself in good company -- Seamus Heaney, Dick Spring, Pat Kenny, Proinsias De Rossa, John Hume, et al."

However the normally outspoken broadcaster refused to be drawn in on the fallout when contacted by the Herald.

Despite being criticised by his former Newstalk colleagues George Hook, Fionn Davenport and Ivan Yates, Mr Dunphy told the Herald: "I just can't comment on this, legally I can't say anything. I'm being totally honest, in no way can I say anything,"

Reports following his dramatic departure had suggested that it was connected with his €100,000 salary being sliced in half -- a suggestion strongly rejected by Mr Dunphy.

However, Mr O'Brien has reiterated that stance.

"Eamon Dunphy's claim about leaving Newstalk in solidarity with a fellow broadcaster is hollow -- given the facts," said O'Brien in a piece he wrote in the Irish Times. "Dunphy left because of money. He was, by the way, working in a station which has invested some €20m in a talk radio alternative to RTE that has not yet made a profit."

Meanwhile Mr O'Brien -- who has shares in a number of media outlets both in print and broadcasting, including INM which publishes the Evening Herald -- revealed how he has been subject to a "disturbing trend of nastiness and cynicism" by the media since Sam Smyth was sacked by Today FM.