Radio presenter Neil Prendeville is to be the subject of a garda investigation over possible discrepancies in his story about a sex act he carried out on board an Aer Lingus flight.
Confusion has arisen over Prendeville's version of what happened when compared to details of the incident made public by his solicitor Gerald Kean.
In an on-air apology, the 49-year-old Cork DJ said his memory of the entire night's events was a blank from the moment he left a restaurant in central London to go to the airport.
Prendeville said he remembered nothing from then on, except for a single moment of clarity in which he recalled taking painkilling tablets.
Kean's version of events appeared to differ when he spoke to Today FM's Matt Cooper on The Last Word on Wednesday. Kean said Prendeville had taken more tablets for an ongoing neck injury, and "then took some more drink and can't remember anything". Kean added that the memory loss "didn't happen all at once. That was over an hour or two before he got on the plane."
Gardaí are currently trying to piece together a full timeline of the events, gathered from witness statements, CCTV footage, and accounts given by both Prendeville and Kean. They are trying to determine what occurred during the couple of hours that seem to be unaccounted for.
Only when that process is completed will they attempt to speak to the €150,000-a-year radio DJ in person, garda sources confirmed to the Sunday Tribune.
Kean said his client would be happy to speak to gardaí but they have had no contact yet from investigating officers.
He said his client was under tremendous strain but that his family was standing by him.
Attempts to contact Prendeville about possible discrepancies in his account of what happened on board the Aer Lingus flight were unsuccessful.
It is understood, however, that the DJ has been keen to give media interviews to journalists he considers to be "personal friends", despite his apparent attempts to avoid media scrutiny.
Prendeville was part of a small group of Cork-based journalists who boarded a flight from Cork Airport at 4pm on Tuesday 19 October. They were guests of the Cork Convention Bureau and were due to meet a delegation of British travel agents at around 6.30pm in the centre of London. The event, which was being supported by Tourism Ireland, took place at the famous Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill, owned by celebrity chef Richard Corrigan.
On arrival in London, the group took the Heathrow Express to central London from where it was only a short taxi ride to the venue.
Prendeville, who owns a bar and restaurant in Cork city, gave a short speech extolling the virtues of food and drink from his home region.
Within two hours, the group were on their way back to Heathrow after leaving Bentley's by taxi at 8.30pm.
On arrival at the airport, it emerged that the flight would be delayed for at least half-an-hour and the delegation headed for the lounge.
They were eventually seated on the plane but with weather conditions disimproving, it would be another 30 minutes before the aircraft began to taxi.
It was then that Prendeville began to masturbate using an in-flight magazine to cover what he was doing. A journalist from the Irish Examiner was sitting next to him and witnessed the public display.
Passengers seated nearby and astonished air hostesses were alerted to what Prendeville was doing and he was asked to stop. On arrival in Cork, Aer Lingus staff made no attempt to contact gardaí and the airline has been criticised for its failure to take action.
As far as Prendeville was concerned, everything after leaving Bentley's Restaurant was a complete blur.
In his apology, he said: "I know that I arrived there [at the restaurant] by train and by taxi. And I do not recall how I got back to the airport.
"But I did get back to the airport and I did travel on the flight in question. And because of a persistent neck injury I took those painkillers again prior to boarding the plane along with alcohol while at the restaurant.
"And as a result I remember absolutely nothing about the flight itself or even coming through the airport or even how I got home."
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