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Denis O'Brien, chairman of Digicel Group Photo by: Reuters

Newstalk bosses bite back at Dunphy’s ‘outrageous’ claims about their station

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Denis O'Brien, chairman of Digicel Group Photo by: Reuters

Eamon Dunphy’s claims that media mogul Denis O’Brien hates journalism and intimidates staff at the Newstalk radio station has been branded as ‘outrageous’.

Dunphy quit his Sunday talk show at the weekend but not before he lambasted owner O’Brien and bosses at the station he branded a ‘slum’.

The controversial pundit attacked O’Brien on air before signing off on his final show but Newstalk management have dismissed his claims out of hand.

In a carefully worded statement, Newstalk chief executive claimed Dunphy’s real issue was with a request to take a 50 per cent cut on his $150,000 a year fee for just 40 shows.

“He has made a number of serious and libellous allegations about the station after he quit,” said Cronin.

“The allegations are false and malicious and were made as a direct result of a request to Mr Dunphy to take a reduction in his fees.

“Mr Dunphy’s conduct in recent days echoes a similar pattern of behaviour in relation to his previous employment at Today FM, RTE and Independent News and Media,” said Mr Cronin.

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“To suggest that journalists in the station are ‘intimidated and blackguarded’ is ridiculous and absurd. I have received many calls from members of staff who are offended, upset and outraged by these false allegations.”

Shortly before the end of his final show last Sunday, Dunphy claimed he was leaving because of the way staff were treated at the station and not because of any proposed pay cut.

Cronin has refuted this allegation and added: “Mr Dunphy has a duty of care and responsibility to act professionally at all times when on air.

“His behaviour and libelling of a number of people on Sunday was a deliberate and reckless dereliction of his duty as a presenter.

“This is the same Eamon Dunphy that has admitted that he wrote an attack on Denis O’Brien for ‘The Irish Times’ at the request of Tony O’Reilly.”

Cronin did admit to ‘some management interference’ but rejected Dunphy’s claims that staff were ordered to put a positive spin on the news by O’Brien.

In reply to Cronin’s statement, Dunphy has denied that he attacked O’Brien in an Irish Independent article at the bequest of Tony O’Reilly.

“Tony O’Reilly encouraged me to write a piece for their paper, the Irish Independent,” said Dunphy. “I said no but I did it for ‘The Irish Times’. But I didn’t do it because I was asked.”

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