Yates confirms Newstalk departure

Broadcaster and former minister Ivan Yates has confirmed he is to leave Newstalk "to focus on his financial issues".

Broadcaster and former minister Ivan Yates has confirmed he is to leave Newstalk "to focus on his financial issues".

Speculation has mounted this week that the former Fine Gael minister was set to move to the UK amid mounting debts following the collapse of his Celtic Bookmakers business.

Speaking on the Newstalk Breakfast show this morning which he co-hosts with Chris Donoghue, Mr Yates said his final programme would be on Good Friday, April 6.

"Yes, it is true that I have decided to opt out of my current work commitments - including broadcast media, print media and other commitments - to focus on my financial issues," he said.

Mr Yates however did not confirm reports that he is set to move to Wales in order to avail of UK bankruptcy laws.

"I'm going to take some time out to work on a few things," he told his co-host.

"But don't worry about Ivan Yates."

Mr Yates had been co-presenting the Breakfast Show since May 21, 2009. The show is Newstalk's most-listened-to programme, while Mr Yates is also a weekly columnist with the Irish Examiner.

Having spent over 20 years as a Wexford TD Mr Yates was on the front bench of Fine Gael for over 12 years.

He was Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry from 1994-1997.

Mr Yates faces bankruptcy over debts of about €3.5m following the failure of Celtic Bookmakers, with AIB demanding full payment of the debt by May 13.

The former Fine Gael minister, who is being charged €4,000 in weekly interest payments by AIB, recently said he doubted his ability to repay the bank within two months.

He revealed there was a disagreement between himself and AIB about the level of the debt. He claims it is €3.4m while the bank is seeking €3.6m.

Creditors including five landlords of his betting shops attended a creditors' meeting last week which saw a liquidator appointed to Celtic Bookmakers.

Mr Yates said the sale of 31 of 47 outlets in his betting shop chain had raised about €3m, out of which almost €500,000 went on legal and receivership costs.

He said he has not had control of the business since Jan 2011, when it was put into receivership. He blamed the collapse of the firm he had run since 1987 on a 50% downturn in retail betting and a move towards online gambling as well as less disposable income among consumers.

Additional reporting: Irish Examiner

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.