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MOD serves up an apology for that Burlo 'battleaxes' jibe

MAN about town Michael O'doherty knows when he's beaten.

And when MOD used a less than complimentary description of Burlington Hotel waitresses he knew he was on a loser.

The women tracked the socialite down and the Herald man swiftly ate humble pie apologising for calling the ladies "battleaxes" in his column.

"It was an error. I know when I'm wrong," said MOD.

The VIP publisher even offered to play waiter for the group at a hilarious lunch in their old workplace.

"It takes a gentleman to stand up and apologise in front of everybody," one of the women explained.


Seven of the women, who all spent the greater part of their careers working at the 'Burlo', took great exception to Michael's use of the term "battleaxe waitresses".

Isabella Neville (70), from Phoenix Park, Dublin, was the one who rallied her former colleagues and good friends to make sure they wouldn't take the criticism lying down.

"Bella read it first, then she rang me," said Diane Croghan (70), from Coolock.

"I read the article and I just couldn't believe it, so I rang the Herald to organise this meeting. We couldn't let something like that go.

"I realise it was probably a slip of the tongue and I do feel sorry for him, because everyone makes mistakes, but I'm glad we got a chance to voice our opinion."

"We feel like he should get a smack on the wrist for what he said about us," Betty McGillivary (77) from Sandymount added, only half-jokingly.

As soon as the apologetic MOD met the retired ladies in the Burlo's lobby, he explained that his intention had never been to hurt their feelings.

"The story was about the Four Seasons and I was trying to compare the style it had in terms of presentation to other hotels," he said.

"I was simply tying to find the right words that conveyed that kind of old school style and I picked the wrong word, I hold up my hands to that.

"I admit that at the time I wrote it, it didn't strike me as being offensive, but the minute I bought the newspaper the following day, I realised how offensive it was.

"I've no problem in apologising when I know I've done something wrong, and in this case I knew I'd done something wrong, simple as that."

Minutes after they'd heard his remorse, the girls invited Michael to share their lunch, and he suggested that he would make amends by having his own waiting skills tested.


Michael donned his finest bow-tie, grabbed a tray and came back with the Dublin ladies' order.

"It's been 30 years since I picked up a tray with drinks on it, and it all came flooding back," MOD said.

"I was hanging around waiting for a tip for a few seconds, but then I realised the girls hadn't forgiven me that much," the Herald columnist added.

"You might want to have a look at your tyres when you go out," said Ann McEnerey (72) from Glasnevin.