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Wealth meant nothing after wife's death -- Mark Cagney

TV presenter Mark Cagney has revealed that the premature death of his first wife Ann taught him there's more to life than money.

The Ireland AM host says that he was "a very, very wealthy man" at the time but the money "just sat in my account taunting me".

"It wasn't worth anything to me, because she was my life and I did it all for her and she was no longer there. The money wasn't going to bring her back," he told the Herald.

"It wasn't going to help me. It didn't make me feel any better, in fact it drove me mad. Because in a strange way it made me feel powerless."

Mark had it was a heart-breaking reality check. "I got my priorities straight. I'm not saying you need to learn that lesson in such a tragic way but it definitely taught me a lot. And from that day no professional and personal decision I've ever made has ever been determined by money."

Mark began presenting Ireland AM 12 years ago and believes that the dramatic cut in his pay check has made him a more likeable presenter.

"The audience know that we don't get paid astronomical sums of money. We do well but it's nothing when compared with other stations.



Divorce

I do get a bit of envy when I see those salaries, but then I just think 'fair play'. But, to be honest, I think earning such large amounts puts a huge gap between you and the audience.

"How can you relate to the audience, how can you feel their pain, how do you know how tough life is when you're earning half a million a year? This is not a pop at RTE but we connect with our audience because we are more like the audience."

While he would never return to the national broadcaster, Marks says his time there was invaluable.

"I would never go back to RTE, but I'll say this; my education as a broadcaster started in RTE and it was the best school I could ever go to."

Mark's co-host Sinead Desmond is his fifth 'TV wife'. "It's the longest onscreen relationship he's had," Sinead joked. "No divorce yet."

Mark would love if RTE launched a new breakfast show but believes TV3 would still dominate the market.

"Competition is always good. I'd welcome the competition. I think if RTE did launch a morning breakfast show people would check it out, because it would have the novelty factor. But our edge would be familiarity. Familiarity breeds contentment."

hnews@herald.ie


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