Neil Prendeville returned to the airwaves today saying he was worried, frightened, hopeful, sorry and grateful.
An apologetic Mr Prendeville also accepted that he has had a “precarious relationship with alcohol” in his lifestyle but has avoided drinking in recent months.
The Douglas-based father of two had his contract terminated after 21 years with 96FM, after it was alleged that he committed a lewd act on an Aer Lingus flight from London to Cork on October 19.
In an interview with his stand-in presenter PJ Coogan, ahead of his return to his show on Monday, Mr Prendeville said: “It’s been five months. I really didn’t think in my darkest days I’d be here again.”
He has remained quiet on the issue as he didn’t want to “add fuel to the fire”.
“But every day of my life for the past five months I have asked for forgiveness. I have said sorry every day. I can do no more.”
Mr Prendeville admitted he caused offence to people on that flight and he wished to apologise again to each of them. He said he had apologised to his family every day, especially his wife Paula, who he said has been a rock.
“It would be untrue of me to say she didn’t have difficult days. It was tough and hard on her. I hope the event won’t define me for the rest of my life” — but he admitted it was a ‘career-ending’ incident.
Mr Prendeville, aged 49, said he first learned of the incident while on holiday with his wife in Marrakech a few days after the alleged incident. He panicked, saying: “Your body goes almost into shutdown.”
He also reflected on the changes to his life. He said in hindsight it was clear he was heading for a fall and that throughout his career he’d always had a ‘precarious relationship with alcohol’ — one that had got a lot more precarious over recent years.
He said he didn’t drink that often — but he drank too much and said it was alcohol that got him into the incident.
“It would be naive and silly to suggest it was anything otherwise than alcohol.
“How I let myself get into that condition I’ll never know,” he said.
He said that at 49 years of age he should be in the comfort zone, but said that the hardest time of his life was ahead of him and that his outlook on life was now completely different.
He said: “I took all the good things in my life for granted. I wasn’t a good husband, a good friend or a good colleague.”
He added he was a crap husband and was "obnoxious".
After the incident he took the ferry to France as "he wasn’t welcome as a passenger on Aer Lingus any more" and stayed in a cottage in Provence where he said he wrote.
He said he didn’t know if coming back on air was going to work — “if it doesn’t, I’ll go.”
He added that he needed to work to support his family, and that he was receiving post-traumatic stress counselling in Dublin.
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