Ireland’s most popular local radio talk host has admitted he indecently exposed himself to passengers and crew on a London to Cork flight.
Neil Prendeville, 49, presents Cork’s 96FM’s morning show and was travelling on Aer Lingus flight EI1725 on October 19 when the incident occurred.
The plane was scheduled to depart from London Heathrow at 10.15pm and as the pilot began to taxi for take-off the presenter exposed himself and began to masturbate in his seat which was in the middle of the front row of the jet.
A woman was seated at the window directly to his right and a man was seated in aisle seat directly to his left. Following take-off an air hostess came over and spoke with the three passengers.
The Aer Lingus crew have filed reports on the episode, which is the basis of the investigation carried out by the airline.
Aer Lingus Chief of Security Mark Dunphy is currently in possession of these reports and has contacted the female passenger involved to inform her that they have concluded their investigation and will be making a formal complaint to the police.
Prendeville has admitted he did act outrageously. “I wish to confirm I did travel on the flight in question, I was asked to go to London to give a speech at a convention. I had taken three pain killing tablets before I left Cork.
“I remember being in the restaurant, I remember giving the speech, I remember being outside the restaurant talking with some other people, I know that I arrived there by train and by taxi and I do not recall how I got back to the airport.
“But I did get back to the airport and I did travel on the flight in question and because of a persistent neck injury I took those pain killers again prior to boarding the plane along with alcohol while at the restaurant and as a result I remember absolutely nothing about the flight itself or even coming through the airport or even how I got home.
“If the reports [in today's Irish Examiner ] are true and I can’t deny that they are not because I just don’t recall and I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest apologies to the passengers on the plane, to the flight personnel, to my family, to my employers and my work colleagues and all of the people of Cork," he said. “And I apologise unreservedly to all concerned.”
Prendeville also contacted the woman and left her an apologetic voice mail saying: “I just wanted to apologise to you for any offence that I might have caused you." He claimed not to remember what had happened and that when he was informed he was “shocked and horrified".
He continued, stating that he believed a mix of alcohol and painkillers were the cause of his behavior: "I have no recollection whatsoever. I’m in shock, you know, I really am. I took some Nurofen Plus alright, I know that, for my neck. And as you know, with me anyway there was pints and wine and stuff and Jesus I don’t know where I’d begin to make it up to you,"
Prendeville had been in London to attend the Cork Convention Bureau with Cork Lord Mayor Michael O’Connell, Cork county mayor Jim Daly and Cork Convention Bureau (CCB) chairman Seamus Heaney.
Some of the guests of the CCB, including the presenter, ate at Bentley’s Restaurant, owned by top celebrity chef Richard Corrigan, before the flight.
Prendeville’s morning talk-show has almost 100,000 listeners each day and is Ireland’s most listened-to talk show on local radio.
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