In The Prime Time Of Her Life

Current affairs anchor – and Ireland's leading ‘yummy mummy’ according to the tabloids – MIRIAM O'CALLAGHAN talks about the challenges of raising eight children, her past marital woes and taking a pay cut at RTÉ.

Miriam O’Callaghan is the most successful female television presenter in Ireland. Dubbed a ‘yummy mummy’ by the people who decide these things, and famously known for having eight children, she is enjoying one of her most successful stints in RTÉ, with her Saturday night chat show during the summer achieving impressive viewership figures. Her new RTÉ Radio 1 show on Saturday mornings has also been deemed a big hit since going on air earlier this month, for a 12-week stint.

However, the Dubliner – whose father was from Kerry and mother from Laois – admits that she feels slightly overexposed these days. And with good reason. When Pat Kenny dramatically resigned as presenter of the Late Late Show, Miriam emerged as the bookies’ favourite to replace him. O’Callaghan and the other leading candidates, Gerry Ryan and Ryan Turbidy, were thrust into the eye of a media storm while RTÉ went about selecting the new face of the Late Late.

As a result, Miriam is reluctant to carry out in-depth interviews at the moment – but decided to make an exception for Hot Press.

“I just worry sometimes about boring my viewers or my listeners. I never want them to think I’m a pain in the B-A-C-K-S-I-D-E. But after this I’ll just lie low. I’m going on my holidays soon, to Portugal and Killarney. So, I’ll be gone. I never want to be a pain (laughs).

“I really, really, really find it uncomfortable being interviewed,” she adds. “The first time I ever worked with my husband we went out for a meal together, and he started asking me questions about myself. Now, I hardly knew him. And, I started to cry.

“I think it’s because I don’t really like talking about myself, which is why I never look back at a programme, which is very unusual. And I don’t listen to myself on the radio. I could only come down into the kitchen on Saturday – because my mother was there listening to it – when my show was over because I really don’t want to hear myself.

“That’s probably still about being self-conscious. A bit of the old 16-year old in there. But I don’t mind questions being asked. I mean, you can say what you want in response to them. For a living, I ask personal questions. I can hardly turn around to somebody, then, and say, ‘How dare you ask me that question?’”

On with the show, then…

Jason O’Toole: Growing up, what type of character were you?

Miriam O’Callaghan: I am five-foot-ten-and-a-half. I was that height when I was 11, which makes you feel very self-conscious at quite a young age. So, I was very, very boring; very, very shy.

I read that you once described yourself as borderline anorexic.

Friends of mine look back now and say, ‘Oh my God!’ I was the same height as I am now and I was under seven stone. What my parents did was kind of not make a big issue of the fact that I watched everything I ate – and eventually it went away. So, it never became an issue. I was very, very thin. Young girls – I watch my own daughters now – are very self-conscious. You think you look ugly and that, ‘If I get thin I’ll look better!’ But now I just eat a lot! I think the older you get, being too thin is really bad. Anyway, I like my food. I don’t own a weighing scales. I haven’t owned one since I was 18.

You started college very young.

I went to university when I was 16. Mental! My mother was a national school teacher and when she became the principal she used to take us in, as a way of child-minding, I think. I started junior infants at three. I did law in UCD. Everyone else probably had a great time. I was too young. I think university is about who you meet, and socialising, but we didn’t do any of that. I was quite studious. I was always a swot. Isn’t that terrible?

So you didn’t get to the student’s bar much?

Rarely got to the student’s bar, I’m afraid.

Brian Cowen once said to me that anybody who didn’t get a whiff of marijuana in the student’s bar back in those days would be telling you a lie.

Well, not if it was me, not straight-laced Miriam. I was not very exciting. I barely drank. If I could go there again, you never know, I might have a much more exciting time.

Did you always have an interest in media?

No. I did law and then I went to Blackhall Place and became a solicitor. And when I was there, there was a BBC law show, called Out Of Court, and they came over. I was working for FLAC, in my spare time, for free legal aid, and they needed to interview somebody about something in Ireland, and somebody said, ‘Oh there’s this solicitor, she’s young, she’s intelligent’. And they interviewed me and I remember the producer saying, ‘Have you ever thought about working in telly?’ – which I had never thought of doing. Subsequently, I went to London when I was 22 and instead of doing law there – I was going to have to spend another year to qualify for British solicitors – I just applied for a job through The Guardian as a researcher in television, and that’s how I went into television.

Did you meet your first husband, Tom McGurk, over there?

No, I met him in Dublin. I had just turned 20. I was in UCD. I got married when I was 22. He was going to London. I think he just wanted to leave Dublin, and I went with him.

Both your husbands are from Northern Ireland. Do you have a thing for Northern men?

I don’t know! I think it’s just a coincidence, actually.

When you got married the second time, you already had four children...

When I met Steven he was 26. I’m eight years older than him, so I was 34. And I had, yeah, four young kids. The joke was that he was a Newsnight producer living in a bedsit and all his mates would go, ‘What?! You’re going out with Miriam, and you’re moving to Dublin, and she’s got four kids?’ Obviously, it was a lot to take on. He was very mature. And he remains very mature. He is fantastic. And this is – how many years? – 14 years later.

Did he have doubts when you first told him you had four children?

He never had doubts. He is quite extraordinary. Genuinely. I’m madly in love with him.

Because I can imagine it could be quite difficult starting a relationship with someone who has four children.

Yeah, I would assume most men would run away, to be honest. But he loved me, thank God. I mean, he clearly did, because he is still there. And they get on great.

You once commented that your biggest regret was the break-up of your first marriage.

I got married at 22. It’s very young. I was a baby and sadly it didn’t work out. None of my generation got married at 22. I was too young and I was immature. I’m really blessed because I have had a second chance and I have a great second husband. And you can even see from my kids, if you look at them – I only get snapped at the odd premiere, and I don’t do VIP spreads – that they’re happy and they’re great. I think once kids are secure, it turns out well.

I saw a photograph this morning: you’d all attended the Harry Potter premiere together.

They look happy, don’t they?

One of them actually looks a lot like you, I’d imagine, at that age.

Yeah, she’s 16. She’s an identical twin of the other girl on the other side of that photo.

They don’t look that similar.

I know. She’s like her mother, she dyes her hair blonde (smiles).

So when you got married the second time, was it by accident or design that you had four more children.

Oh, it was like, I wanted to. Meeting Steven was the best thing that ever happened to me.

But eight children sounds like more than a handful...

I read it sometimes and I go, ‘Who? What? She’s got eight kids?!’ But I only ended up with eight kids because, obviously, I married twice. Also, I did have fertility treatment. I didn’t find it easy to have children. I am now their best success story in this fertility clinic. But, hey, I want to put it out there, because I know for some people it is hard to have babies.

Can I ask you about the fertility treatment?

After my first child I couldn’t get pregnant, so I went to a gynaecologist, a man called Peter Snow. You might remember him, he used to do the ‘swingometer’ on Newsnight on the big elections. He is Jon Snow’s cousin. Anyway, I went to him and I got three children in ten months. A very effective fertility drug!

Three children in ten months?

They are Irish triplets because I had a daughter, and then ten months later I had twins (laughs). And people would say, ‘That must be a nightmare’. But I said, ‘No, it’s a blessing’. Because I had wanted a second child, the fact that three came was neither here nor there. And then my marriage broke-up, and then obviously Steven was single, and I thought I would have another child. And my mother said, ‘But did you have to have four?’ (Laughs). Ah but look, they’re all healthy. Every time you throw the dice you worry. I do think that anyone who has a child that doesn’t have a problem is very lucky in life. Yeah I’m always aware of that, and people should be.

You’ve been described as a yummy-mummy, what do you make of that?

Laughable! What is a ‘yummy-mummy’? I think it’s hilarious. What does it mean? It’s like when they come up with these silly things like, ‘You won sexiest legs of the year’. And you go, ‘But you’ve never seen my legs’ (laughs). But it doesn’t sound bad, so it’s okay by me.

Do you think you’ll have any more children?

Eh, no. I’m definitely never having any more children. I would be committed to an asylum at that stage!

How do you manage to juggle eight children and your career?

Because of the hours I work – on a day of Prime Time, I leave at nine in the morning, and I’m home at 11.30pm at night – I have two women who have worked with me for 11 years, Lorraine and Bridget, and they are fantastic. They work different times, and they are like part of my family. One of them is godmother to my seven-year-old. But when people say, ‘How do you get the same people minding your kids?’ I say, ‘Treat them well’.

So you’ve found a solution!

Yeah, well I couldn’t mind them, and Steve works very long hours. And I always say about men, you are great, but you’re not quite the same as a wife, because he doesn’t lie in bed thinking, ‘Who is going to pick up Jack from tennis tomorrow?’

It must be a military operation going off on holiday together...

Yeah, we go away every year. This is quite a sweet story: once at the airport, when we handed in our passports – Steven’s name is Carson, my name is O’Callaghan, the girls are McGurk, the boys are Carson, and my child-minder is Keating – and this woman (behind the counter) just said to the 10-year-old, ‘Are you with the tour party?’ And he said, ‘We’re not a tour party, we’re a family!’ And we laughed. But it’s fine. They’re happy. I worry sometimes that they’ll get lost and that I don’t give them enough attention. But I do work my butt off when I get home. I don’t really sit down until about half-ten because I spend so much time reading to them and talking to them.

I read on Wikipedia that you and your husband are very close to Matt Cooper, and his kids and your kids hang out with each other.

It’s so not true! We laughed about it because the kids are in the same school – it’s a national school in Rathmines – and I meet them dropping them off. We have never had a drink together, nor have we ever had a meal. I have never been in their house. But it’s just funny. But look, he is a great broadcaster. And his little girl is in my 10-year-old’s class. I just know them from the school gates. And Ardal O Hanlon’s kids go to the same school, so you could say I’m a great friend of Ardal as well – but, again, I have never been in his house.

Are you worried for your children growing up in Dublin today with people talking about binge-drinking problems, drug problems…

I’m not worried. My mother laughs. She said when we were young, she never slept until we were in at night. And I go to sleep and I don’t worry about them. I think, give children freedom. But I will always say, ‘If ever you cross the line and do anything wrong, I’m reining you in’. And they’ve turned out really sensible.

I heard that you buy a lot of things in charity shops.

Yeah, but if they’re nice, they’re fine. I’m trying to teach my kids as well. When we were really rich in this country, everybody thought if you had the perfect bag or the perfect dress, that’s what you needed, you know? Now, I think, what’s the point? Buy a bag for €10, and if you get bored you can fling it out. Plus, if it was €100 you’d be like, ‘No! I’m going to keep it forever!’ Also, I don’t want to acquire things. I don’t understand that, do you? What’s this obsession with acquisitions? It doesn’t buy you love and it doesn’t buy you happiness.

There’s a culture among some teenagers, in which the label is everything.

I don’t want them to think that money grows on trees or that it’s easy. Like, I had to teach piano lessons, and I slogged in restaurants as a student, to make money, and I think they should know that. There’s eight of them, so I’m not going to be leaving them a vast sum of money. They’ve got to earn their own way in life. I think there’s a problem with growing up in Dublin if your parents have a bit of money that you think life is like that and that it’s affluent.

You’re good on the piano. How come you didn’t make a career out of music?

I thought about trying to be a pianist but I wasn’t good enough. Like, I’m good, but I wasn’t good enough to make a living out of it. My parents didn’t have loads of money, so I would just teach young kids piano on a Saturday and Sunday morning in my house. And they would drive my siblings mad because they would have been out the night before, and goody-two-shoes Miriam is downstairs playing piano with the kids. Yeah, I do love music. But I love classical music; I love Mozart. Is that a really serious thing to say?

Do you have an iPod?

I certainly do. Are you going to ask me what’s on it? Well, loads of different stuff, obviously. I do listen to a fair amount of classical music, which is boring. I like U2; I like their new stuff. I quite like a lot of Snow Patrol. I like a lot of traditional stuff. I like John Spillane, who I hand-picked to be on my Saturday show. So I have an eclectic mix of tastes.

1995 must have been the most difficult year of your life, with both your father and your sister passing away.

After my sister died, my father collapsed in the garden eight weeks later and died, and then my marriage broke up that year.

How did you manage emotionally to deal with so many traumatic experiences?

I don’t know if you’ve gone through difficult times in life, but you just go through them, and it’s like you’re in slow-motion. I don’t remember it. It’s like a blur. I remember it was horrible and I cried a lot that year. I always say, if you don’t know the dark times, you’ll never know the good times. That’s why I appreciate every day. And the thing about a death is also that people always feel sorry for themselves because they get left behind, like in terms of my sister or father dying, I feel really sorry for them because ultimately it’s the person who loses their life who’s just (pauses)... you know, we’re all here, they’ve had their lives stolen, particularly Anne because she was so young.

When your sister passed away did it change your perspective on life?

Completely. I completely changed. I always say there is Miriam pre-Anne’s death, and post. I’m a different person. I am a better person. You know, it’s sad because she was my closest friend. I used to go around looking at people who were really grumpy and mean and older, and thinking, ‘Why are you alive when my sister is dead?’ It’s terrible, I was zapping people all around me. So yeah when they all get (pauses)… like, I like my job in television. I like my job but I don’t take it that seriously.

What was pre-Anne’s death Miriam like?

I probably did worry about my career, you know, and I probably was quite ambitious. After that I realised none of that mattered, and obviously things went better for me in a weird way. It was like, I just cared about the things that were fundamental. I decided that I was going to be happy. That’s why things changed in ‘95, you know. She had two little girls – a one-year old and a three-year old. Makes you wonder about a God.

Are you religious?

I think I probably am religious. Do I believe in some kind of a God? Yeah. Do I ask my little kids to say prayers going to sleep at night? Yes. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because if I think that this is just it, that would be quite depressing. Anyway, when in doubt – until I’m absolutely sure there is nothing – I am just going to cling on to the fact that when I die I’m going back to have a glass of champagne with Anne somewhere in the clouds. That’ll suit me. I feel blessed. I think my sister Anne winged Steven to me from heaven. I believe that.

Do you visit the graves of your sister and father a lot?

I don’t know why, but I do. I used not be able to, until this woman came on Prime Time one night, and she visits her son’s grave. He killed himself when he was 21. And I said, ‘Why do you go? There’s nothing there’. And she said, ‘Oh, yes there is, Miriam. I know what he was wearing and I know the ring he had on his finger. And that’s him, and I can talk to him’. Actually, she convinced me it was worth going to graves.

Do you believe in karma?

Do I believe in karma? I mean, ‘karma’ is such a kind of a ‘cool’ word. But on a simple level I think so. Obviously there’s bad luck: like my sister dying – she did nothing wrong, was beautiful to people – but I think, by-and-large, if you are decent to people they will treat you with decency. I think I’d have regrets if I messed somebody about, or had been horrible or cruel to people.

I was surprised to discover that Miriam Meets is your first radio show.

They used to come back virtually every year and ask me, but I just didn’t have the time. But I did my first show, yeah, on Saturday, and I loved it.

Were you nervous?

No, I found it much easier because there’s no optics. The whole thing about television is that people spend the first 20 minutes – like even in all the emails today, it’s like, ‘Where did Miriam get her dress?’ There’s an awful lot of that you have to deal with – and I just like talking to people. On radio you have none of that – you can come in and sit in your pyjamas if you so desire. I don’t own any pyjamas, but if you did you could come in and sit in them (laughs). And it’s just about talking to people and what they say to you. People talk about it being intimate – it is.

What type of guests are you going to have on it?

People like Róisín Ingle and her mother; Michael Colgan and Paul McGuinness, because they’re mates; Joe O’Connor, the writer, and his dad; Colm O’Gorman and his partner. They are some of them. Barry Devlin and his sister Marie Devlin. I’m quite interested in how people connect with each other, and I love people’s, kind of, family ties.

Would you like to do a daily radio show in the future?

No. I have no plans to do that. However, I would like to do more radio. I like it. I find it a lovely medium. You always think when your kids get older – my youngest is three – ‘I won’t be so busy’, but they almost need you more. When they get older they have all these little problems. ‘Somebody was mean to me in school today, Mum’. So we’ll see

Would you like to do the summer TV show again next year?

Yeah, I think I will do it, yeah. They’re a nice team, and we laugh a lot. And with these ratings I think I’ll be back.

What was the most cringe-worthy moment for you on television?

My worst moment in television? I think it was about 2001. I had just come back early from having a baby, my son Conor, and I was obviously feeling insecure. I had Alan Dukes in studio, and for some reason I was ridiculously tough – completely over the top tough – on him. And my lovely boss called me in the next day and he said, ‘Miriam’ – I think I was back a day from maternity leave –‘What exactly got into you last night?’ I said, ‘I do not know.’ I look back and I was giving out to the guy for nothing. But he forgave me, Alan Dukes. But that was my worst moment, I think, because I kind of was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. A lot of presenters in current affairs are male presenters, and they act in a certain way. But as a woman it can look really wrong if you are haranguing somebody. You are better off to have your own style. I went back to being myself.

Would you ever consider working in the US or going back to work in the UK?

No. I’m delighted where I am.

What’s your take on the wage cuts in RTÉ?

I’ve gone on the record. I took the wage cut. I work on Prime Time, where every other night there are people losing their jobs, and you are asking other people to step up to the mark. I can hardly do that with any integrity if I don’t step up to the mark myself. I’m on a great wage. It’s not like I’m paid a pittance.

So if they came back you would have no problems taking a cut in the future again?

Yeah. Well that’s just for me, it’s not the same for everybody else, Jason. Other people think differently. I just think like that. I don’t care about money.

Would you ever follow George Lee’s footsteps and enter politics?

No, I wouldn’t dream of it in a trillion years. I think it’s a really tough job. I’d hate it.

I heard you signed up to write a book...

I never signed up to write a book. I was asked to write a book, by a number of people. I was made a very generous offer, which even I was pained to not accept. No, I’m not going to write about myself.

Do you think Mint Productions will make any more documentaries?

Mint is finished. It’s closing down at the end of this series. The reason it’s closing down is that it was mainly run by Steve, and he’s in here (in RTÉ) now. I need to give more time to my kids as well, and Mint used to eat up a lot of our time. But I might do some documentary stuff. That’s something I’m looking at. You know, if I come up with a good idea, I’ll do it myself.

On the subject of the Late Late Show, it seemed unfair that if you took the show you’d have to give up Prime Time, whereas the other candidates wouldn’t have to give up their radio shows.

That was a big deciding factor for me. I think I was right, too. I have no regrets about that. People are bored by it at this stage, but I do think that that’s a fair point: why was I expected to give that up? I have built it up for years.

Why does Prime Time mean so much to you?

Unlike Newsnight – a show I worked on – Prime Time gets a very high rating. In other words, Irish people, irrespective of class or money believe it’s worth tuning-in to a current affairs show. Newsnight, which is a good show with Jeremy Paxman – same as Channel 4 News – gets a minute share. Like, nobody watches it except for people like you or me. That’s what I love about Prime Time: everyone thinks it’s accessible. I start getting really annoyed when people start using big words; you know, broadcasters who broadcast for themselves: ‘How clever can I sound tonight?’ I always think it’s a given you know what you’re talking about, and then you make it accessible. As long as I stay on Prime Time I’m happy.

Could you see yourself doing Prime Time until you’re 60?

A hundred. (Laughs) No, I’m joking. Yeah, probably. When I joined in ‘96, Brian Farrell was there and he was really good to me and we still meet for lunch – he stayed until he was 75. I think that’s too long, I don’t want to be doing Prime Time when I’m 75 – I hope I’m off touring the world with my husband.

Was it difficult when Steve was appointed to management at RTÉ? It has to have its disadvantages.

No, it’s got no disadvantages. Because I’m here a long time, I’m part of the furniture, he is a novelty! I don’t go near him at work, but I love the fact that I know he’s sitting above me.

Are you surprised by the level of success you’ve managed to achieve in RTÉ in your television career?

I’m probably surprised considering I was such a goofy, boring 16-year old, yeah. But I think you remain that person, inside. I don’t think I would be regarded as the most arrogant around. I would be quite aware of my own mistakes. And if I get criticised by a critic, I will always try and look and see, ‘Yeah, he’s right, there’. Or, ‘She’s right there’. You can always do better. You need confidence, I suppose, to walk out on a live TV show. I brought my mother to the chat show the other night and she still hasn’t recovered! She was so worried for me, just watching it live.

Where did you find the confidence to go for it?

It’s about experience. It’s about spending years on the streets of Northern Ireland during troubled times, doing very important stuff – that builds up a certain confidence. I’ve been in Irish people’s living rooms for 17 years, and they eventually get to know you, and they come up and they talk to you. I suppose you get a bit of confidence from how people react to you, especially if they say nice things.

Was covering Northern Ireland for a UK broadcaster difficult?

It was really interesting. It was very unusual for a Southern Irish Catholic to be doing all the Northern stuff – as I did from about ‘92. Probably because of my background, I would bend over backwards to be fair to the Unionist tradition. And then I ended up working with Steve – my husband – a lot from ‘96 and obviously he would bend over backwards, because he is a Protestant, to be fair to the Nationalist side. So there was a balance. Actually, when I left Newsnight, The Guardian wrote that Newsnight suffered from my going because I understood the terrain, and also, because I was Irish. Sometimes you get British people covering Northern Ireland and they don’t really get it. They can’t even pronounce the names.

Did you ever have any scary moments in Northern Ireland?

Yeah, we did have a couple of scary moments with bombs, and we, kind of, got involved in riots. It was one of the first times I worked with Steve, but look, nothing big to tell, you know. I’m still here!

Any death threats?

We did get death threats. Myself and another guy, who is now editor of Channel 4 News, were doing a story about the UDR 4, which was like the Birmingham Six, but we came out to our car after coming out of the jail, and they had pulled out all the engine, all the wires. They were just trying to scare us, but we weren’t scared, we just got another hire car. So when you do all that, you’re not really scared of chat shows.

Not so much hangs on them...

Chat shows are just talking to people about their lives, and that’s endlessly interesting. People here thought of me doing a chat show because I used to sit in the green room after Prime Time and have fascinating discussions with people when we were off-air. Talking to a politician, I might notice that his right knee is shaking because he’s nervous, and on a chat show I could say, ‘I can see your leg shaking. Do you find this very tough?’ Whereas if that was on Prime Time people would think I was a deranged lunatic. But I’m more interested sometimes in the back-story of people. Most people have tragedy in their lives, or a back-story that’s important, but you can’t bring it up on Prime Time, so it’s nice to do the chat show as well.

You are going on 50 soon. Do you think about that much?

It never enters my head. I just feel so blessed. My sister died at the age of 33. No, genuinely, I get kind of annoyed with people who go, ‘Oh, I’m getting older!’ And I go, ‘Thank your lucky stars you’re alive’. And it’s fantastic. I always think you should celebrate the length of time you are on Earth instead of worrying about it. Touch wood.

 

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President Michael D. Higgins leads the Irish tributes this morning to the breaking news of the death of former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.

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It's Gilmore Girls Day On Netflix

Gilmore Girls makes its much-anticipated return today on Netflix with four memorable chapters from the lives of Lorelai, Emily, Rory... and many more stalwarts from the fictional small town of Stars Hollow.

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DJ Nikki Hayes Opens Up About Giving Up Booze

Popular radio DJ Nikki Hayes has bravely revealed that she gave up alcohol last year because of its negative side effects of being mixed with medication to deal with a mental health condition.

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Watch Aretha Franklin’s Soulful Version Of US National Anthem

To help celebrate Thanksgiving, Aretha Franklin was invited to sing the American national anthem before yesterday’s big football game between Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings at the Ford Field stadium.

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Justin Bieber Looks Set To Face Legal Action Over “Aggressive Punch”

It’ll probably come as no surprise to hear that the teenager filmed being hit by the Canadian popstar prior to one of his gigs on Tuesday is now planning to take legal action.

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Elton John Rejects Offer To Play at Trump’s Inauguration

Media reports that Elton John is set to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s Inauguration ceremony are “not true,” according to a spokesperson for the British star.

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Putin’s Top Spin Doctor Makes Horrible Racial Slurs About Obama

Vladimir Putin’s top media advisor in the Kremlin has used disgusting racial slurs to attack US President Barack Obama on the state-owned national television.

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Jean-Michel Jarre Makes Surprise Release Of New Music Video

The French composer’s new single Oxygène Pt. 17 has just been stuck up on YouTube without any fanfare, shortly ahead of his much anticipated new album on 2 December.

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Justin Bieber Punches Fan in Face

Justin Bieber lashed out at a fan shortly before going on stage for his “Purpose World Tour” concert in Barcelona last night.

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Donald Trump’s Own Grandfather Faced Deportation!

The USA might have had a very different President-elect right now – if it wasn’t for the fact that Donald Trump's grandfather was booted out of Germany, according to a legal decree that was recently discovered.

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Jason Donovan Reveals Liberal Attitude Towards His Kids Taking Drugs

Ex-Neighbours star Jason Donovan says he would prefer if his teenage children wanted to experiment with drugs that they would do so in the more safe environment of the family home in front of him – describing it as a form of “reverse psychology”.

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Phil Collins Plans Comeback Gigs in 2017

Phil Collins revealed back in 2015 that he was “no longer retired”... and now true to his word he plans "some comeback shows" next year.

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Kanye West Is Hospitalised After "Psychotic Breakdown"

Kanye West was forcibly taken to hospital for his own safety after suffering a "psychotic breakdown", according to US media reports.

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Steve Jones Reveals He Was Sexually Abused In New Memoir

Former Sex Pistol Steve Jones has opened up for the first time about being sexually abused by his stepfather in his autobiography.

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Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia Auction Sets New World Record

A three-day auction of Marilyn Monroe’s personal and career items has just fetched a staggering $11million dollars, which is being described as a “another word record” for the LA-based Julien’s Auctions who organised the event.

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Sting Offered Megabucks For Reunion Gig With The Police

The Police have been offered a whopping $9million US dollars to reform for a one-off festival in California next year, according to reports.

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New Book Reveals Heartbreaking Details Of Freddie Mercury’s Battle With HIV

It’s hard to believe that it’ll be 25 years since Queen’s charismatic frontman was cruelly cut down in his prime this coming Thursday (24 November).

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Grateful Dead to Celebrate 50th Anniversary In Style

As part of the celebrations for the upcoming 50th anniversary of their debut album, the Grateful Dead have announced plans for a comprehensive reissue of their entire discography.

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US President Obama Sheds New Light On White House Chat With Donald Trump

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has for the first time revealed that he strongly warned President-elect Donald Trump that he should tone down some of his radical political stances during their chat at The White House last week.

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Jeremy Clarkson Is Back Behind The Wheel

The much-anticipated new show by ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is now uploaded for streaming. The first episode of the new show called 'The Grand Tour' – featuring hosts Clarkson, Hammond and May – premieres exclusively on fee-paying Amazon Prime Video today (Friday 18 November).

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Clinton Finally Reveals Heartache Over Losing To Trump

Defeated US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave her first public speech in which she not only opened up about her pain at her shock defeat, but she also made a rallying cry for young people not to get disillusioned with politics.

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Lemony Snicket Fans Will Be Excited By Sneak Peak OF New TV Series

Fans of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events look set to be in for a real treat if the exciting new trailer just put up on YouTube for an upcoming series created by the book's author himself is anything to go by.

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I’m Your Fan:Jeff Buckley’s Irish Friends Pay Moving Tribute On Day Tragic Singer Would’ve Turned 50

It’s hard to believe how time flies. Jeff Buckley – who will probably be most fondly remembered for his haunting cover version of the late Leonard Cohen’s elegiac song ‘hallelujah’, which was released posthumously to much acclaim – would’ve been celebrating his 50th birthday today on 17 November … if only he hadn’t been taken away so tragically young at just 30-years-old.

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John Lennon's Bitter Letter To Paul McCartney Over Beatles’ Split To Be Auctioned Off

To paraphrase one of The Beatles’ most popular tunes ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, John Lennon definitely felt he had been let him down by his ex-band members - as demonstrated in an angry letter addressed to Sir Paul McCartney and his then wife Linda about the iconic band's split in 1970, which has resurfaced and will be auctioned off.

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The Boss To Be Honoured By US President Obama

As one of his last acts in The White House before handing over its keys to Donald Trump, the outgoing US President Barack Obama will bestow the country’s top award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Bruce Springsteen at a ceremony on November 22.

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The Rolling Stones Give Their Two Cents Worth On Donald Trump's Victory

Mick Jagger says he believes the world is “mystified” by how TV reality star, billionaire Donald Trump is going to be the next president of America.

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US Mayor Resigns Over Racist Comments Made About Michelle Obama

The Mayor of a tiny West Virginia town is making front page headlines around the world after she was sensationally forced to step down from her position after agreeing online with a horrible racist slur describing First Lady Michelle Obama as “an ape in heels”!

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Taylor Swift Named Highest Earner Of 2016

Taylor Swift will certainly be the envy of the music industry with the announcement that she just topped Forbes’ annual rich list for under 30s this year by earning a mind-boggling $170million US dollars.

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Carrie Fisher Reveals Affair In New Star Wars Kiss-And-Tell Memoir

There was never any denying there was on-screen chemistry between Princess Leia and Hans Solo in the first installment on the Star Wars franchise back in 1977 – but now in a new memoir to be published before Christmas, Carrie Fisher sensationally reveals that the sexual chemistry that was bubbling on-set spilled over into reality.

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R.E.M Singer Wants To Return To Music Scene

R.E.M. fans will surely be excited by the news that Michael Stipe has revealed that he has an urge to return to the music scene, saying he has been inspired to get back into the swing of things after performing at two David Bowie tribute shows earlier this year.

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Irish Immigration Leader Urges Calm Over Trump's Deporation Plans

The chairperson of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in the USA is urging the media to stop sensationalizing President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on immigration.

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Trump urges America “not to be afraid” in first post-election interview

US President-elect Donald Trump opened up about a wide-range of contentious issue – discussing everything from abortion, to same sex-marriage and immigration – on CBS’ iconic show 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

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Netflix To Screen Four New Movies In November

It's a busy month for Netflix. Along with five new TV series to be aired, the streaming site will be screening four new movies in November

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Brilliant Trees return for final show of 2016

After the success of their two recent sold out shows in the Grand Social, the Brilliant Trees return to the same venue on the 27th of December - for what will be a Christmas Gift to many who could not get tickets to their last shows.

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Michael Jackson Song Recorded By Aslan Singer’s Daughter Kiera Dignam For The Gavin Glynn Foundation

Kiera Dignam has recorded the Michael Jackson track ‘Ben’ in memory of the 5 year-old boy they dubbed ‘Batman Ben’. It’s a hugely appropriate tribute from the singer, given that her father Christy Dignam of Aslan is also battling with a rare, incurable form of cancer.

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How Can I Protect You in this Crazy World?: Interview with Christy Dignam

In the song, the next line says: “It’s alright, it’s alright”. But that’s hardly what Christy Dignam has been feeling. The lead singer with the quintessential Dublin band Aslan has battled with heroin addiction, terminal cancer and the resulting depression. So how come he is still able to smile?

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This Sporting Life: Kenneth Egan Shares his Mental Health Battle

Two of the best known figures in Irish sport, Kenneth Egan and Eamonn Coghlan, discuss their mental health struggles – and subsequent recovery. Plus, sports psychologist Canice Kennedy discusses the issue of depression in sport.

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The Importance of Being Brenda: Brenda Fricker on Her Mental Health Battle

For many years, Brenda Fricker battled with the crushing weight of depression. And then, she discovered something that really did work for her, taking her into a new and far better place. Here, Jason O’Toole, who spoke to her a number of times over the years, tells her remarkable and moving story….

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Donald Trump accused of racism by former model

A former Miss Teen USA, turned actress, is warning the US electorate to vote against controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump.

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CHRISTY DIGNAM OF ASLAN SUPPORTS RIGHT TO ASSISTED SUICIDE

In a remarkable Hot Press interview, the Aslan frontman, diagnosed with terminal cancer, explains why he would consider going to the Dignitas centre to end his life – and why he would like to see the option introduced in Ireland

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Donald Trump: Will The Incriminating Apprentice Tapes Be Released?

The producer of Seasons One and Two of the US version of The Apprentice has said that the Access Hollywood tapes are mild compared to what Trump had to say off-camera, when he fronted his own reality TV show.

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Interview with The Brilliant Trees

Dublin rockers Brilliant Trees are back in the saddle after a decade away – and their new material is their best yet.

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Donald Trump campaign has been rocked by sex scandal

The Trump campaign has been rocked by yet another controversy. It’s being claimed that there is a drove of controversial material of unaired footage from ‘The Apprentice’ show in which for the Republican presidential candidate makes unsuitable sexually comments about contestants and crew members. It’s claimed he even made comments on contestants breast size during breaks in filming the hugely popular show.

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U2 fans travel from round globe to Dublin tribute gig

The U2 tribute gig to celebrate their 40th anniversary at Church Bar was such an overwhelming success that the man behind the event, Stephen Browne, is now planning to turn it into a yearly event…

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Getting Away With It – how Ireland's crime cartels thrive in Spain

Despite much publicised recent raids, the Kinahan crime cartel continues to flourish in Spain – and internal divisions in the country’s police force are a big part of the problem.

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A Good Kick Up the D'Arcy! - An Interview with Fr. Brian D'Arcy

That was the headline to the article that introduced comedian Dermot Morgan’s Fr. Trendy character to the world. In the second part of our controversial interview with Fr. Brian D’Arcy, he talks about being the butt of satire, the need for the Church to move with the times on divorce and women priests, Fr. Michael Cleary’s mistakes, how being censured by the Vatican felt like being abused all over again – and why priests are revolting against the Papal Nuncio in Ireland.

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The Church To Celebrate U2 @ 40 With Special Events

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the day when Larry Mullen pinned the legendary note that triggered U2 into being onto the noticeboard in Mount Temple Comprehensive – and some very special nights await

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The Danny Healy-Rea Interview by Jason O'Toole

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae hit the headlines when he announced that it was God who decides the weather. In an extraordinary Hot Press interview, he sticks to his guns, in more ways than one. Indeed he candidly insists that he’d shoot any intruder who broke into his house.

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"We're Afraid Of The Goddamn Americans"

This is just one of the many trenchantly expressed and frequently challenging views of the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, in the second part of our major, in depth and – as it has turned out – highly controversial interview with the Waterford independent TD. Now read on… Interview: Jason O’Toole

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The Minister Of Culture: Interview with Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe has emerged as one of the brightest and most capable politicians in Fine Gael. As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, he occupies one of the hottest seats around the cabinet table. Far from being a dry, policy wonk, however, he is a remarkably rounded character, who is a big fan of music, literature and films – not to mention Hot Press.

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Finian McGrath opens up about grief, government formation and Rory Gallagher

Finian McGrath began his political life working with Tony Gregory in his North Dublin inner-city constituency. An independent spirit, he was elected to the Dáil first in 2002. Now, with the political landscape fragmented and no party having enough TDs to form a government, he has been thrust into the spotlight, sitting at the Cabinet table as 'super junior' Minister for Disabilities. But just a few weeks into his new role, he has already been embroiled in a number of controversies.

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Archbishop Eamon Martin Talks Growing Up In The Troubles, His Music Tastes And The Marriage Referendum

He may be the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, but the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, is very different to his predecessors. In an exclusive interview he talks about growing up in Derry, the impact of the Troubles, his love of music, sexuality and his desire for a united Ireland.

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Maureen O'Sullivan talks The 8th, Tony Gregory & drug decriminalisation

She entered politics, working with Tony Gregory, as far back as 1979. But it was only when the Dublin socialist TD died that she ran for the Dáil, successfully holding his seat. Recently re-elected, she looks back at her relationship with the man she describes as a “Casanova”. And she talks about some of the biggest issues of the day.

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Was He The Godfather?

Christy Dunne has been depicted as the Godfather of Irish crime. His family were notorious for their involvement in the heroin trade. But has the portrayal of the man himself been wide of the mark? Here, he tells his side of the story.

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The New Long Fella

He is the grandson of Éamon De Valera – one of the founding fathers of the State and a former Taoiseach and President. So has his unique lineage had anything to do with the success of EAMON Ó CUÍV? These and other issues are teased out in a remarkable interview with Ireland’s Minister for Community Affairs.

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Et Tu, Bruton

His brother, John Bruton, was the leader of Fine Gael and served as Taoiseach. Now, Richard Bruton is a key member of the opposition front bench. Would he have anything different to offer if he was Minister for Finance?

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Why I've Been Hounded Since Katy's Death

It was in KIERON DUCIE’s house that the model Katy French had the seizure that preceded her tragic death. Since then, he has been the subject of a campaign in the press which reveals the skewed news values of too many newspapers.

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The Dutchy Holland I knew

Dutchy Holland was an institutionalised criminal - but one of an unusually corteous and thoughtful disposition. By Jason O'Toole

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Not so junior minister

He's been described as the 'intellectual powerhouse of Fianna Fail'. As the party goes into electoral meltdown special advisor to the Taoiseach turned Junior Minister Martin Mansergh talks about George Lee, the Government's unpopularity and the prejudices faced by a member of the Anglo-Irish community who dared go into politics.

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"We will defend the integrity of the Republican struggle"

They say that he was among the most powerful – and the most ruthless – Republican activists of them all. Here the legendary Bobby Storey, reputed to have been Director of Intelligence for the IRA, talks for the first time about his role in the struggle, and about some of the critical events that led to the IRA ceasefire and the Peace Process.

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The State is still failing us

It was 1985 when Bruce Arnold first wrote about the child abuse scandal in Ireland. In a powerful new book on The Irish Gulag, he is hugely critical of the efforts of the State as well as the Church, accusing them of conspiracy.

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You Couldn't Make It Up

Since fortune first began to smile on The Script, the band has been plunged into an extraordinary saga of injury, death, personal loss and heartbreak...

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Glenda days

New Xposé presenter GLENDA GILSON talks candidly about the malicious newspaper allegations printed about her late Uncle Liam Lawlor, recalls the feelings of pride she had for her ex Brian O’Driscoll captained the Irish squad to a Grand Slam victory and looks forward to Xposé Live at the RDS!.

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It's Independence Day

She was a stalwart member of the Green Party, serving as an MEP for 10 years. Now, thoroughly disillusioned with the party’s performance in Government with Fianna Fail, PATRICIA McKENNA has decided to leave – and to run as an independent in the upcoming European elections.

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Citizen Sanger

In an exclusive interview, LARRY SANGER - widely credited as co-founder of Wikipedia - takes issue with a number of comments made by ex-colleague Jimmy Wales in Hot Press recently, and explains why his new online encyclopedia, Citizendium, will eventually conquer cyberspace.

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A Rogue's Gallery

IAN STRACHAN was jailed for blackmailing a member of the Royal Family over allegations of a sex and drugs ‘scandal’. But a media blackout ensured that little of the substance of the case was reported.

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12 Step Planet: San Francisco

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The bare facts

A nude model and a linguist Roslyn Fuller is a very unusual writer indeed. She tells Hot Press why the Irish need to loosen up.

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Return to Zion

The world was united in condemnation over the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. In a rare print interview Israel ambassador to Dublin Zion Evrony says the campaign was justified and that his country was motivated by the desire to bring peace to the Middle East. And he tells us why comparisons between Northern Ireland the Middle East are fatuous

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Gilligan's island

Can John Gilligan reform the prison economy? Stranger things have happened!

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Each man in his time plys many parts

If, as The Bard had it, all the world’s a stage, then Green Paul Gogarty is a better actor than most. He’s been a New Romantic, a busker, a journalist and an editor before being elected to the Dáil. But even that is only half of it. In a remarkably open interview, he talks about the price of being in government with Fianna Fáil, his multiple identities on web fora, rumours that he was gay, the issue of depression – and the true story of his adoption.

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Once in never out

It is an old Republican principle. But it could also be applied to the attitude the authorities have taken to Ireland’s longest serving political prisoners, Paddy McCann and Colm O’Shea. Jailed for the killing of two Gardai during a bank raid in Roscommon in 1980, as the peace process reached its final stages they were asked to sign up to the Good Friday Agreement. They subsequently put their names on the dotted line. That was ten years ago. So why have they not been released in the meantime, like dozens of other former Paramilitary activists? In an extraordinary, confessional interview, PADDY MCCANN makes his case against the State.

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What Giovanni did next

Notorious criminal lawyer GIOVANNI DI STEFANO – whose high-profile clients include John Gilligan – wants the law changed so that male prisoners receive the same early release privileges as their female equivalent. And he’s planning to take his case all the way to Europe if necessary

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The boxer

Kenny Egan brought back a silver medal for Ireland from the Olympic Games – but almost everyone agrees it should have been gold. A national sporting hero, he tells Hot Press of his plans for the future...

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Dedicated Avatar of Fashion

He got involved in the fashion business in the 1960s when music was exploding. But then Tommy Hilfiger has always seen the two as inseparable.

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Champagne Charlie Rides Again

As the turbo-charged economy he helped create teeters, Charlie McCreevy talks about medical cards for the aged, the Eircom shares debacle, explains why he wouldn't swap places with current Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

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Heads, you win

He's familiar to Northern listeners as a super-smooth middle of the road DJ. But in his misspent youth as a guitarist, Gerry Anderson lived a life of rock and roll abandon.

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What Happened When Libertas and Their Czech Mate Sat Down to Dinner...

The Libertas organisation's dinner honouring the Czech President's visit to Ireland caused a furore and may have paved the way for Prague's head of state for the next Czech presidency of the EU.

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After the Storm

In the second part of the Hot Press interview, An Taoiseach Brain Cowen talks about his political influences, the fall out from the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty and more...

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The Last Days of Katy French

Kieron "Wolf" Ducie, describes what happened on the night Katy French passed away in compelling detail. He also recalls the build-up to the tragic events that unfolded.

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In the Eye of the Storm

Find out what Brian Cowen thinks is in store for Ireland in light of the global financial crisis and the government's unpopular decisions on medical cards and education cuts.

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