Axegrinder’s Irish mole could not believe his ears as he was driving past Croke Park Stadium in Dublin earlier this morning.
Listening to the Breakfast Show on Newstalk Radio, the normally combative editor of the Irish Daily Mirror John ‘Jumbo’ Kierans was on to talk about several pap shots of the normally glamorous Irish news reader Sharon ni Bheolain wearing a rather unflattering ensemble whilst taking the dog for a walk.
The popular news reader had recently been targeted by a stalker and a freelance photographer shot a few apparently covertly images of her over the weekend – walking a dog in he pyjamas. He passed them on to the Irish Daily Star, Irish Daily Mirror and the Irish Sun.
Ni Bheolain took to the airwaves yesterday on the Irish national broadcaster RTE to complain about the intrusion into her privacy as she walked along a public street, claiming that the photographs were worse than being stalked.
Normally, Jumbo is known to be unflappable and the mole expected to hear a strong defence of the tabloid media.
But instead Jumbo began humbly: “I am not going to start a justification for it first and foremost.”
He continued: “The pictures were sent to me but I’m not a genius on the phone so I couldn’t actually open them up.”
Passing the buck, Jumbo said the picture desk had described the set as “harmless enough”.
“We deliberately didn’t use them on page one because I thought of felt that she had been through enough. But in hindsight and having listened to her yesterday, I feel that certainly on my part we made a mistake and I would like to apologise to Sharon for that.”
“There was a massive row in this newsroom yesterday morning about it because we wrongly did a leader on it, saying on a joke that she looked a bit rough. Both myself and the news editor felt very strongly about that, but it was a leader written late on Sunday night and some of the girls in the office felt that she didn’t look great – but it was done, and we made a mistake.”
Jumbo admitted that he paid the snapper “a three-figure sum”.
Ni Bheolain has threatened to complain to the Press Council about the photographs.