New Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy is "disgusted" by the behaviour of a photographer who ambushed him last week and says the continual stalking of him by paparazzi has become a problem.
The broadcaster was speaking after pictures of him walking with former Rose of Tralee Aoibhínn Ní Shúilleabháin were widely printed in the Irish media. The shots showed the couple last Sunday enjoying a stroll near the scenic Powerscourt waterfall in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.
The 35-year old told the Sunday Tribune: "I'm disgusted by it. Whatever creepy creature took those pictures and earned a quick buck from an opportunistic moment is a sad little individual, who has now earned a few quid from a grubby cheque. It's pathetic. I prefer to make a living the way I do than the way he does."
Tubridy said that, if requested, he would have agreed to pose for photographs but claims not to have been given the option.
The father of two also rejected suggestions he may have co-operated in the taking of the pictures which were reproduced shortly after he was announced as the successor to Pat Kenny on RTé's flagship show.
"The mere suggestion, that some people have made, that I might have organised it is obscene in the extreme. It's a sickening suggestion which I am particularly disgusted by," he said.
Tubridy admitted the paparazzi's interest in him has intensified during the last few weeks as his name came into contention for the role of host of The Late Late Show.
"It's become a problem but I think the problem is for Irish journalism. Otherwise I think Irish journalism has been great. I have had such a great week and dealt with reporters reporting straight, but then you get these guys emerging from under a rock and bringing the good name of journalism down."
Tubridy said he had been "blown away" by the week in which he secured the most coveted job in Irish broadcasting. He said: "I have files of letters from all around the country. I got lovely letters from Bill Cullen, Bill O'Herlihy, Eddie Hobbs and Paul Howard."
But Tubridy said he was particularly taken aback by one letter which came from Áras an Úachtaráin. "The President wrote me a letter to wish me well. It was a deep, deep honour to see the seal of the President coming through the post. She wrote to me about the importance of The Late, Late Show, what it meant to the Irish people, and to congratulate me on a very personal level."
Approached for comment by the Sunday Tribune, Ray Senior of Showbiz.ie, which supplied the photographs of Tubridy and Ní Shúilleabháin to the Irish media last week, said the pictures were taken not by a paparazzo but by a dog walker. He said the member of the public had been photographing his pet when Tubridy and Ní Shúilleabháin stepped into the frame. He confirmed the amateur photographer had been paid for his pictures.