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Tuesday July 12, 2011

Gay Byrne Back On TV Amid Financial Woes

Legendary broadcaster Gay Byrne will be returning to RTE (Photocall)

Legendary Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne is coming out of retirement and returning to the TV screens because of money problems.

The 77-year-old said his pension has been wiped out and property investments he made are under severe pressure.

The former Late Late Show presenter said he is in the same boat as "hundreds of thousands of people" across Ireland.

"What has happened in this country is putting me under pressure," he told the Sunday Independent.

"I never had a pension in RTE so we invested in what we believed were blue chip stocks, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Anglo, and all of that has been wiped out."

He also made a number of significant property investments with financier Derek Quinlan which he expected would take care of any financial worries, but were now a millstone around his neck.

"We are living through it to see what we can do about it, and it's nasty and awful," he said.

Mr Quinlan left his luxury home in Dublin and moved to Switzerland when the property bubble burst, and is struggling with billions of euro of debts.

But Gaybo doesn't blame him for the mess.

"Again and again journalists seem to think that Derek Quinlan was running some sort of Bernie Madoff cheme - but he wasn't involved in anything of that kind at all.

"Derek Quinlan would buy a building and put together a syndicate to buy it, he would contact me or some of his other clients and he would borrow the funds.

"We went in with our eyes wide open. He took a fee and his company ran the property."

The financial woes are particularly painful for Byrne, because it is the second time in his life that investments have blown up in his face.

In 1996 it was revealed that his friend and financial advisor Russell Murphy was a rogue accountant that had stolen Gay Byrne's life savings.

Mr Byrne's new show on RTE is called "For One Night Only" and will feature him interviewing some of the top names in Irish music in front of a studio audience.

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