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Newstalk CEO and staff hit back at Dunphy’s ‘malicious allegations’

Eamon Dunphy’s comments on his final show with the radio station at the weekend have provoked anger amongst management and staff.

Eamon Dunphy (File photo)
Eamon Dunphy (File photo)
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated 2.50pm

NEWSTALK HAS HIT back at what it says were “false and misleading allegations” made by Eamon Dunphy on his final show with the station on Sunday.

The journalist revealed on Saturday that he was leaving the national radio station in a move that was linked to the recent decision by Today FM to drop Sam Smyth’s Sunday show.

Dunphy said on his final programme, broadcast on Sunday, that Denis O’Brien – whose company Communicorp owns both Newstalk and Today FM –  ”hates journalism”.

He also said that “not nice things are happening in this place”, comments which have provoked an angry response from Newstalk’s CEO and staff members.

Newstalk has since removed the The Dunphy Show’s page from its website and there is no podcast of the final two editions of the programme on the iTunes  store.

In a statement CEO Frank Cronin said that Newstalk “totally rejects all of the malicious allegations made by Mr Dunphy” adding that the “false and malicious allegations” were directly linked to the request that the former Republic of Ireland footballer take a 50 per cent pay cut.

“The fee paid to Mr Dunphy was deemed to be inordinately high for two hours broadcasting per week in the current economic climate. Furthermore the decision was taken in light of his relatively poor listenership figures,” Cronin said.

He went on to say that Dunphy’s behaviour had followed a “similar pattern” to that which he displayed whilst employed by Today FM, RTÉ and Independent News and Media:

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

Cronin said that staff had indicated they were “offended, upset and outraged” by Dunphy’s comments.

‘Some gesture’

This was echoed by station employees, one of whom told TheJournal.ie that they felt their integrity had been undermined by accusations of editorial control which were simply not true.

Presenter Fionn Davenport took to Twitter to voice his unhappiness saying: “So Dunphy left “as a gesture of solidarity with the staff.” For a guy who didn’t know anybody’s name or was rarely in, that’s some gesture.”

Dunphy had also asserted in an interview with the Irish Independent that management had ordered production staff to put a positive spin on news “to suit a businessman’s view of it”.

Cronin said that station management had requested that shows did not overwhelmingly focus on the negative aspect of stories saying that too much of this was being done by Irish media.

“This [negativity] was contributing to the overall feeling of desolation and despair,” Cronin said. ”There are many positive recovery stories in Ireland that should be aired in addition to reporting on the difficult times that we are in.

“Newstalk feels that it has a moral obligation to act responsibly and help the nation to recover and our request to be more positive was a response to this,” he added.

Read: Newstalk staff surprised by Eamon Dunphy departure >

Read: “Denis O’Brien hates journalism” – Eamon Dunphy’s last show on Newstalk >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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