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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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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The Insider

As undercover cop- let's call him Paddy Craig- has lifted the lid on the murky world of Ireland's drug-smuggling gangs.

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Cocaine, Blackmail and a Political Scandal

Two years after the cocaine scandal, Liam Kelly tells his side of the story and talks about attempted extortion, alcoholism and his decision to retire from politics.

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Excuse Me, Can I Speak to the Editor?

In his first major interview, Aengus Fanning, editor of the Sunday Independent, discusses how he manages the most successful paper in Ireland and the death of Veronica Guerin.

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The People Vs Dick Roche

In his most revealing interview yet, Dick Roche explains why he doesn't trust Libertas' Declan Ganley and shares his thoughts on the use of Shannon airport by US military.

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"I'm Not a Big Player in Anything"

So says the man the tabloids have dubbed Fat Puss, Alan Bradley. But he's due in court on charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, with figures between €950,000 and €2 million being bandied about in the media. In an exclusive interview, he asks how can he get a fair trial?

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The True History of the Kelly Gang

He became famous in the North as an affable chat show host. But behind the chipper persona Gerry Kelly's difficult upbringing left him permanently estranged from his alcoholic father.

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Still crazy after all these years

In a remarkable interview, the legendary David Kelly looks back on a long and adventurous career including parts in box office smashes, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Waking Ned.

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In the eye of the storm

Niall Breslin hit the wall – both metaphorically and physically – during the recording of The Blizzards’ latest album.

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Dunne takes on the goliaths

Having carried the rock flag at Today FM for nine years on Pet Sounds, Tom Dunne has moved into the broadcasting mainstream, joining Newstalk.

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Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

Seasick Steve is a former hobo who once called Kurt Cobain a neighbour and, in his 60s, now finds himself acclaimed as one of folk's hottest 'new' acts.

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The Italian job

A collaboration with the sultry Italian singer JustCarmen has propelled Ireland's '60s hit machine, The Bachelors, back into the limelight.

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Gone But Never Forgotten

Journalist Susan McKay's new book, Bear In Mind These Dead, revisits the families of victims, for many of whom the emotional scars have been slow to heal.

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The Prisoner

Dutchy Holland, currently serving an eight-year sentence in Wandsworth Prison, gives a remarkably revealing interview where he discusses all aspects of his life as a career criminal.

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McKenna to split from Greens?

A disillusioned Patricia McKenna has lost faith in the Green Party's ability to enforce radical change, and is contemplating life outside the party.

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McKenna slams Failte Towers crew

The maverick Green politician has rounded on her reality-show rivals.

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Gilligan My Side of The Story

Crime boss John Gilliagn denies ordering the execution of Martin Cahill, and offers his opinion on the recent explosion of gun crime in Dublin.

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Swing When You're Winning

Scores of liberated Irish adults are investigating the swinging scene. It's normal, good fun, says one party organiser.

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Brunker Mentality

Over a pint of lager, Amanda talks about her debut novel, kissing girls, losing her virginity and explains why it's hard to find a straight man in Dublin.

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The Write Stuff

When Joseph O'Connor's Star Of The Sea was selected as a Richard & Judy Book Club choice in the UK, it propelled the writer to the literary A-list

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HP Archive: The true story of the John Gilligan gang

With John Gilligan now released from prison, we delve into the Hot Press archive for an extraordinary interview conducted by Jason O'Toole in 2008...

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Hagmann's Bluff

In his heyday, Larry Hagman was the biggest television star in the world, portraying the manipulative and ruthless oil baron JR Ewing in the kitschy Dallas soap.

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Wikipedia Faces Legal Battle

How accurate is online encyclopedia Wikipedia? Controversial lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano says the website hasn't moved fast enough to deal with the gross lies and distortions that litter his Wikipedia entry. Now Di Stefano has launched a legal action that, if successful, could fatally damage the Wikipedia Foundation.

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Wikipedia Faces Legal Battle

How accurate is online encyclopedia Wikipedia? Controversial lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano says the website hasn't moved fast enough to deal with the gross lies that litter his entry.

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Greetings from Death Row

Having been in a car with a man who opened fire and killed two police officers Sunny Jacobs was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. She lived to tell the extraordinary tale.

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Hey Big Spender

Tales of high profile solicitor Gerald Kean's astonishing ability to make truckloads of money - and spend it - have become the stuff of tabloid wet dreams.

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Brothers in arms

Dublin's Hyland Brothers are aiming to punch their way into the Guinness Book Of Records. How? They are all launching individual bids for European boxing titles.

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Staying Alive

He could easily have died, but somehow heroin addict Brendan McGee managed to cling on to life long enough to kick the habit.

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Nude Awakening

Renowned for his elaborately-posed images of nude figures in public settings, artist Spencer Tunick is hoping Irish people will strip off for him when he visits these shores in June.

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Can This Man Bring The PDs Back From The Grave?

He was the shock winner of the Progressive Democrats leadership race. In his first major interview Ciaran Cannon sets out his vision for the beleaguered party, explains why Michael McDowell was really a sweetheart, decries the rise of the nanny state, calls for the legalisation of prostitution and lifts the lid on his misspent youth as a mod.

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Sex: It's A Growth Industry

While half-hearted attempts are made to clamp down on prostitution, there is a thriving prostitution business in Ireland that is widely advertised on the internet

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Flash Jordan

Formula One's plucky outsider Eddie Jordan talks about motor sport's party-hard reputation, jamming with Bryan Adams and winning to the British national anthem.

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Porno for pyro

Republic Of Loose are one of the most exciting bands to emerge from Ireland during the last decade with one of the most charismatic lead singers ever to bestride a stage in the country.

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More than just a sex change

She has become the public face in Ireland of Gender Identity Disorder. Now Sara-Jane Cromwell is campaigining to raise awareness of this serious, but widely misunderstood, medical condition.

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Fear and Loathing on the Costa del Crime

For the average expat Irish criminal living in Spain, life is a blur of booze, prostitutes and drug deals with the threat of violence, and even death, never far away.

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Waiting for the hammer to fall

A collection of memoribilia from legendary artists will be auctioned later this month to benefit Music Rising, the charity co-founded by The Edge.

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Keeper Of The Keys

When the Government announced plans to set up its own Press Council, it sent a shiver of fear through the publishing industry. Now, with John Horgan in the role of Ombudsman, he aims to protect the freedom of the press.

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Miss World Is Not Enough

It’s almost five years since Rosanna Davison first burst into the limelight, winning the Miss World contest in China.

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Jailhouse Rap

Outspoken Limerick rapper NAILERZ talks frankly to Hot Press about two attempts to kill him and, how they can smell your fear in Moyross.

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Page 3 For the Show

The Sun broke new ground recently when Claire Tully appeared as the newspaper's first Irish topless model. As it turns out she's also planning to do a PhD at Oxford.

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Selling Britney by the pound

Brandy Navarre of paparazzi outfit X17 talks about the multi-million Britney media industry.

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Speaking his mind

For over three decades, the political agitator and columnist Eoghan Harris has been the focus of abundant controversy, consistently raising hackles with views that are seldom less than heretical.

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John The Revelator

As the FAI's chief executive and the public face of Irish football, John Delaney has come in for savage public criticism over the last couple of years.

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The SDLP and the future of Northern nationalism

They've been steadily losing ground to a resurgent Sinn Féin - and now there are rumours of a merger with Fianna Fáil. So does the SDLP really have a future? Mark Durkan clears the air.

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Glad to be gaeilge

What happens when a New York comic sets off to learn Irish in deepest Connemara? Des Bishop has the answers

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The Fugitive

Ex-IRA man Gerry Kelly talks to Jason O'Toole about his run-ins with the British Army, his near death experiences, the part he played in inflicting civilian casualties and his time on hunger strike.

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The letter they refused to print

Donal Lunny takes on the US military.

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Art of darkness

Having once chomped on a corgi and crawled on his knees across London, performance artist Mark McGowan is now planning to drag 300 kilos of potatoes through Dublin while dressed as Bertie Ahern.

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A lass act

She claims to wander about in the nude in her spare time. But British model-turned-TV presenter Jayne Middlemiss is fully clothed and respectable when Hot Press pays her a visit.

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What's it all about, Sophie?

Most famous for the naked billboard campaign she did for Opium perfume, the granddaughter of Roald Dahl has since matured into a writer of note.

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Fear and loathing in Ireland's criminal underworld

A spate of drugs seizures has led Dublin's top criminals to suspect a "rat" in their midst. Once the culprit is identified, a bloodbath is guaranteed.

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Drive to oblivion

In an exclusive interview, DeLorean executive Brian Beharrell talks about the $24 million cocaine bust that hastened the demise of the sports car manufacturer's Belfast base.

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The Dealer: “Look, the cops might seize a big consignment this week, but that’ll be replaced next week”

Here we present a remarkably candid – and sometimes scarifying – interview with one of the top dealers in Ireland.

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A walk on the bogside

Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle talks about her Derry childhood, drug use in the pop industry and explains why she gets irritated when the band are called “British”.

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Worth her weight in gold

Unheard of a year ago, Carlow teen Saoirse Ronan is the actress of the hour in Hollywood. Here, she and her actor father Paul Ronan talk about her remarkable rise.

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Freedom Inc

Amnesty International are using cutting edge technology and viral marketing methods to highlight human rights abuses.

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Web exclusive Q&A with Saoirse Ronan

The young Carlow-based actress Saoirse Ronan is on the brink of Hollywood stardom, thanks to her Golden Globe-nominated performance in Atonement and her upcoming starring role in the next Peter Jackson movie, The Lovely Bones. In her first ever in-depth interview, she spoke exclusively to Hot Press about her sudden rise to fame.

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Katy French: The final words from her Hot Press interview

Shortly before her tragic death, Katy French talked at length with Hot Press about cocaine, her burgeoning celebrity and her belief in the afterlife.

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