Dolores O’Riordan, frontwoman of The Cranberries, has spoken publicly for the first time since her air rage incident on board an Aer Lingus flight from New York to Shannon.
In an extremely vulnerable interview with Barry Egan of Ireland's Sunday Independent, the 43-year-old singer, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, opened up about her alleged assault on a flight attendant who tried to make her return to her seat and of one of the police officers who later boarded the plane to arrest O’Riordan.
In the interview she tells Egan that she was wearing a mask during the flight out of concern over stalkers following her from New York.
She says, "It was very stressful. I am not used to being in a crowd like that. What happened was, people were scaring me. I was going into the corner and saying, ‘Please don’t touch me.’ They said to me, ‘Do you think you are someone?’ I said: ‘You know who I am. You know I am the singer in the Cranberries.’"
She denies accounts that she was drunk on the plane, recalling, “I had two glasses of wine with my meal. I ate dinner. Corn-fed chicken with some rice and vegetables and cheese after and then a glass of port, then off to sleep.
“That was the plan. I couldn’t sit down because they were roaring at me and shouting at me, these people. I don’t really care what people think.”
Of Carmel Coyle, the flight attendant whose foot she injured, O’Riordan says, “Carmel is lovely. I know Carmel a long time from flying over and back transatlantic since I had the little wee babies in the buggies. I really like her. She knows, for a fact, that it was an accident with my metal shoes. And there was bad people having too much booze roaring at me. And I backed up and I stood on her foot by an accident, like a child in the playground. I’m sorry, Carmel. You know I love you and if there is any way I can help you, I’ll be there for you.”
O’Riordan, originally from Limerick, called Egan to her house in Adare, insisting, he writes, that she “wanted to talk.” In the interview Egan expresses concern for her mental and physical well-being and notes that her family is extremely worried, urging her to “finally get the help she so badly needs.”
Last week O’Riordan’s mother, Eileen, told the Limerick Leader that her daughter suffered a major nervous breakdown following a split from her husband of 21 years, Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton. O’Riordan and Burton have three children together, Taylor (16), Molly (13), and Dakota (9), who remain with their father in his native Canada.
According to Egan the two split in mid-September and since then O’Riordan had been living in hotels in New York.
“She has not slept properly in two months and her moods are, at best, erratic,” he writes.
“Everyone around Dolores wants to see her come out of this dark place in her life — but it is a dark place she has been in, if truth be told, nearly all her life. She was raped at the age of eight for four years. A sex abuse victim is always a sex abuse victim.”
Last year O’Riordan spoke out to Egan about the abuse she suffered as a child from an adult in a position of trust. Later that year she was invited to perform at the Vatican Christmas concert and to meet Pope Francis.
In the most recent interview, Egan asked O’Riordan if she will see a counselor, to which she replies, “Sure, I am a counselor. Aren’t I counseling the world? Aren’t I after healing billions of people around the world?
“I think you get to a point in life where you can’t really feel pain. You can’t feel it. You can sing like a bird and heal people.”
“People look at you and see a product. They don’t see a soul. They see an empty hole,” she added.