herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

'I was bullied over disability' - Francis

Hotelier Francis Brennan has revealed he was bullied as a child because his right leg is slightly shorter than his left.

Brennan spent months in hospital as a child, undergoing 11 major operations by the age of 11.

"They told my mother that I would never walk again," he said

"But my mother says it never really impacted on my life - that I just got on with it.

"She says I was always happy as a child," he added.

But while the operations didn't affect his movement, the presenter was bullied at school.

Francis got a hard time from students who called him names because of his disability and was "murdered for no reason" by the Christian Brothers.

"I used to get physically sick each morning. I was terrified of the teachers.

"I was an average student, but they murdered me," he said.

Francis owns The Park Hotel in Kenmare with his brother John and they also co-host At Your Service on RTE, where they help struggling hospitality businesses inject life into their enterprises.

etiquette

His debut book It's The Little Things is a guide to etiquette and manners.

The book offers readers a guide to eating out, the dos and don'ts of social media and tips on grooming.

Brennan began his career in the hospitality industry as a waiter at the Step Inn in Dublin's Stepaside.

"I could keep 40 tables happy," he boasts.

After learning his trade in Dublin, there was no looking back as he went on to study at the Cathal Brugha Street Catering College, worked at Parknasilla and the Victoria Hotel in Cork before arriving at the Park Hotel in 1979.

He admitted that the hotel industry has suffered greatly during the recession years.

Fatherhood was something that never happened for the hotelier as he claims he was just too busy.

"I would have liked kids but I never gave myself the opportunity. It's completely my own fault," he admitted.

"I've lived on my own all my life so I would have no idea what it would be like to have people around the house."

However, the 62-year-old also admitted that he has a strong faith and follows the rules of the Church, especially when it comes to relationships.

abide

"I'm a Catholic and what does the Church say: 'You don't live with someone' so I haven't because I abide by the rules," he said.

"Now that was unusual because in the hotel business you could have a different person every night but I didn't do that because that is not what the rules say".

hnews@herald.ie

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