Oops, he did it again: Michael O'Doherty, owner of VIP magazine, with Andrea Roche at the style awards on Friday night

He's at it again. Publisher Michael O'Doherty was at the centre of controversy on Friday night after a series of comments he made about disgraced businessman Breifne O'Brien.

Hosting the Peter Mark style awards in the
Shelbourne Hotel, O'Doherty shocked guests with a series of unprintable comments about investment advisor O'Brien who it is alleged lost much of his friends' money in a pyramid savings scheme.

Speaking to The Diary this weekend, however, Michael O'Doherty said he had no regrets.

"There were quite a few people in the room who had been stung by Breifne so I don't think the remarks were in any way unpopular. I don't hold a personal grudge in that I didn't get stung, but while there are two sides to most stories, in this case, I think there is only one."

The VIP boss admitted he had been in two minds whether to stick the knife into O'Brien's wife, socialite Fiona Nagle, who famously told a court she needed no less than €4,000 a week for household expenses after an order freezing her husband's accounts.

"Personally, I thought she was fair game, but there were obviously people there who felt more sympathy for Fiona than for Breifne. I should have realised that because the type of people attending the awards would be very much her scene and her circle of friends. Although I can't remember Fiona herself attending in a number of years," he said.

O'Doherty caused a similar storm in 2008 when he made remarks about Lisa Murphy, the girlfriend of solicitor Gerald Kean. The solicitor later called on O'Doherty to be "a real man" and apologise after he joked that men wearing slinky dresses and big wigs were copying model Lisa.

After the incident, Gerald Kean said: "I got a lot of phone calls from people who were at the function saying it was in terribly bad taste. I'm sure he will want to issue a public apology because people seem to acknowledge that everywhere."

The apology never came.

"Do I regret what I said last year? No, of course I don't. Do I regret the fall-out afterwards? Well it was all publicity for the magazine. If I regret anything, it is that I picked on Lisa who I do not have a problem with."

The publisher does admit, however, that he thought seriously about not making a speech at this year's event.

"The problem was I was out last weekend with people who had been to the awards and who all wanted to know what I was going to talk about this year. When I told them I wasn't going to do a speech, you should have heard the egging that went on.

"They were telling me 'ah go on, go on, it's the highlight of the night. It wouldn't be the same if you didn't do it.' So I did and now look at the trouble I'm in."

Among the guests attending on Friday night were RTÉ's Eileen Dunne, Caroline Morahan and Laura Woods, Fair City actresses Hilda Fay and Aisling O'Neill, Michelle Heaton, Anna Nolan, Maura Derrane, Xposé's Aisling O'Loughlin, Sybil Mulcahy and Lisa Cannon, and models Alison Canavan and Bláthnaid McKenna, along with sponsors Peter Mark and members of the Keaveney family, and Camilla Fearon of Tipperary Crystal.