Eamon Dunphy pictured with his daughter Colette and her seriously ill son Braiden (5) who has had heart surgery called off four times at Crumlin children's hospital. Dunphy described the situation as 'desperate'

In an emotional interview with the Sunday Tribune, Eamon Dunphy has spoken for the first time about his concern for the life of his seriously ill grandson. Five-year-old Braiden, the son of Dunphy's daughter Colette, has had surgery cancelled four times at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. He was born without the left part of his heart forming properly.

"My daughter's child has had his operation postponed four times," Dunphy said, "and it's serious, he's terminally ill." He described the situation as "desperate". Colette Dunphy has previously said that children's lives are being put at risk by the closure of two wards and other cutbacks at the hospital.

The RTÉ football expert told the Sunday Tribune that the HSE was in immediate need of reform and said that there were "5,000 people in there [HSE] with no work to do". He also criticised minister for health Mary Harney, saying she had "no mandate to be in government. The PDs' mandate ran out when the party collapsed, but she's still implementing PD policy. What's that about?"

Dunphy said he hadn't spoken before about his own personal ties to the ongoing patients and parents' campaign at Crumlin hospital because he didn't want to "detract from it".

The interview was conducted on the day that the broadcaster threatened legal action over an article in the Irish Daily Mail that reported he was to leave his RTÉ radio programme due to a dispute over pay. The newspaper apologised the next day. Dunphy said the real reason he had hung up his radio headphones for the time being was that he needed more time to work on two books he is currently writing; one a memoir, and another a novel based on George Best. He said the article in the Irish Daily Mail was "untrue, wreckless, stupid, malicious and wrong". Dunphy is currently in France working on both books.

Dunphy revealed that he had been approached by "all of the parties" to run for election at some stage "over the years". Although he seriously considered entering into politics at one point, he joked that it would be indicative of "a national emergency" if he now decided to do so.