Pat Kenny says he can’t afford to retire, as he reveals his regrets over turning down UK work


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RTE star Pat Kenny, who once earned almost €1.52m a year, has revealed he cannot afford to retire.

The radio and television presenter also regrets not pursuing a dual career on Irish and UK television, as he promised to work past his 72th birthday.

The former ‘Late Late Show’ host said offers to work in Britain came after he co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest from Dublin in 1988.

“The whole business of being a broadcaster is about bringing what you do to as many people as possible,” Mr Kenny told the Irish Independent.

“There were a lot of offers after Eurovision. Thinking now, perhaps looking back, I should have spent more time in the UK doing other projects.

“I’ve a small regret that I didn’t build a two-pronged career over there. The only one I took up was a quiz show for satellite channel British Satellite Broadcasting, we made about 34 shows before the channel merged with Sky.”

And Kenny, who celebrates his 72th birthday this January 29, has told how retirement is not an option for him because of his own troubled financial situation – more than a year ago Mr Kenny defended his €729k salary, and at his peak earned €950k per annum.

“It’s been a bloodbath and there are no guaranteed pensions when you are a freelancer. You do try to invest in things but virtually everything has been destroyed to some extent, the only things that remain intact are pensions backed by the State. I still have children in full-time education so until that changes there is no way of me taking off to Florida,” said Kenny.

From February, Kenny’s role will include an extra night presenting ‘Prime Time’ along with the ‘Frontline’, which is to be renamed and brought under the ‘Primetime’ umbrella.

Despite the controversy over the ‘Frontline’ presidential debate, the show’s host has said he disagreed with RTE renaming the programme, which he claimed some politicians were “too scared to go on”.

“I always felt that the show it replaced, ‘Questions and Answers’, let panellists pontificate. There really wasn’t much engagement between the panel and the audience. In my case, I couldn’t have done ‘Frontline’ without presenting the ‘Late Late Show’ because that gave me the confidence to deal with a live audience.”

The broadcaster said hitting 72 brought back memories of his own late parents.

His mother Connie only passed away in 2008.

“My mother saw me doing the ‘Late Late Show’ and got a great kick out of it. As well as being the most avid watcher, she was my most perceptive critic.

“If your parents are still alive, you have some buffer against mortality but once your parents are gone, you really are on the final frontier,” he said.

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