Neil Prendeville, Ireland’s leading local radio talk show host, has claimed he has contemplated suicide after news of his behavior aboard an Aer Lingus flight became public.
Prendeville is accused of exposing himself and masturbating on a London to Cork flight on October 19th. He says a combination of alcohol and pain killing drugs led to a blackout and the incident.
He told the Sunday Independent that his life has become almost unbearable since the allegation became public.
"As day followed night, it just seemed to be getting worse. A dark cloud descended on me and didn't go away. And you kind of think: 'Maybe it would be better if I wasn't here at all.'"
"I thought about that over the past few days on more than one occasion. And then when you see them," he says, referring to his wife Paula Lenihan and two children, "you think you couldn't leave them behind. But sometimes you don't see it that way."
"I don't remember anything, I could have been flying the plane."
Asked if he understood why people were sceptical of his story, he said "If you are saying that people don't believe me," he answers, "I have no control over that. I don't think that any man would do such a private thing in public intentionally. I just can't accept that. And I can't accept it of myself. For whatever reason, it happened -- as a result of whatever. Nobody in their sane senses would do such a private thing in a public place surrounded by people intentionally."
When the news broke he said he thought it was all over for him."I thought that was it for everything," he says, "including my ability to look my wife and children in the face."
"You can talk about my emotions or my regrets but last week for me has been about my children and my wife," he adds. "There is not a whole lot of singing or joking or whistling going on in our life at the moment. Whatever I have done, I will pay what price is necessary for this, but to put your children or your wife through this."
"Paula is devastated obviously," he says. "She is a very, very strong person but absolutely devastated. But she is there and she is supporting me. I think she is supporting me, perhaps, because she knows it is out of character, and that I, or indeed anybody, in full possession of their senses, would never have done such a thing that is supposed to have happened. And on that basis, she is with me. But she is heartbroken."
"That is such a private act, you know, and such a private thing to do. It's not the kind of thing that you do in public if you are fully in control of your faculties. For a man, it is such a private thing. There has got to be something."
"What we're talking about, I think, happened on the ground in Heathrow. So either [I should have been] taken off the plane there or off the plane when you get to Cork. But that didn't happen. So you think about that. Just the curiosity of it. But I haven't in any way thought that that should mitigate any of my responsibility in that regard."
He says he doesn't think he will be the same again after this "but I sincerely hope I will be a better man."
"Look, I'm told this happened. I can't doubt that it didn't. I have apologised publicly for any hurt or embarrassment or shame . . . if the things that I'm told I have done have offended somebody. I want to get back to work. I want to provide for my family. I want to be in a position to get some normality into all their lives, however long that will take; maybe it will be in small pieces."