herald

Tuesday 13 November 2018

What next for Lorraine Keane?

After sensationally quitting TV3, Lorraine Keane opens up to the Herald about her reasons for leaving the station, as well as her future plans

It's mid-afternoon at the TV3 studios in Ballymount, Dublin, and Lorraine Keane is on a quick break from filming her presenting links for that evening's Xpose. To put it mildly, it has been a difficult few days for the Dublin-born presenter.

She may have handed in her notice but still, the show must go on. And ever the professional, Lorraine is making sure that it's a job well done.

Her sense of loyalty to the Xpose brand comes across as soon as I arrive to chat to her. Our interview had been arranged prior to the shock announcement that she is to leave TV3.

My gut instinct tells me that the interview is probably not going ahead, but Lorraine very graciously comes out of the studio to talk to me.

All eyes are on Lorraine, but her focus is still on the TV show which she has been the figurehead since its inception two years ago. She even wants to know if I'd prefer to talk to one of the other girls on the team about the upcoming Xpose Live shows at the RDS.

Speculation

But it's Lorraine who everyone wants to know about at the moment. She's not exactly keen to share all with me, given the media whirlwind and rumour mill that greeted news of her departure from TV3, and I can't blame her. I'd probably feel the same if I were in her shoes.

But Lorraine does want to set the record straight about the circumstances leading up to her resignation on Tuesday.

Despite rumours to the contrary, she says that handing in her notice wasn't something she did on a whim and that she had consulted with her husband Peter Devlin beforehand.

"It was something that I'd thought about for quite some time -- for a number of months, in fact," she says. "Myself and Peter had spoken about it. There's never a good time to do something like this -- I've been here almost 11 years and I've been with Xpose for two years.

"You know, I'm a creature of habit -- I was in AA Roadwatch for seven years. It's not something that I would do without putting a lot of thought into it."

And she says that behind her decision to leave the station is a desire to put her family first.

"When I took on this show, Romy was just born and I came back from maternity leave early, when she was only a few months old, because this opportunity was given to me," she says.

"I said to Peter at the time that I'd give it a couple of years and I'll see if I can manage it with the girls, because my family are my priority, as it should be.

"That's a promise I made to myself and I told Peter to remind me of the promise.

"It's a very busy show. It's not five days a week; sometimes it's six and seven days a week. It includes nights and weekends and sometimes there are photo shoots and photo calls. It's full on and I've always said, and made no secret of the fact, that my family are my priority and that as long as I'm getting the balance right, I'll continue to juggle all the balls.

"I just felt that when the balance wasn't right and when it was tipping in the wrong direction, well then I would pack it in. I've always said that."

While it's been reported that Lorraine made the decision to leave TV3 as a result of a bust-up with management, she's quick to deny that's the case.

"It's a very difficult decision for me and it wasn't made lightly. But I feel it's the right time. You know, I was in my dressing room at home on Tuesday and I had my letter of resignation written. I'd spoken to Andrew [Hanlon] the day before and Debbie O'Donnell, so all my producers and directors knew where I was going.

"So I was in my lovely dressing room, surrounded by all my fancy frocks and lovely shoes and I looked out the window. Romy was walking across the road to the park holding the hand of her nanny, who minds her for me during the day. I just saw the back of Romy's head -- this little head bobbing along and she was full of chat, chatting up to her nanny.

Regrets

"And I'm standing there, surrounded by these lovely gunas and I'm thinking, 'I want to know what she's saying, I want to hear what she's talking about, I want to be the one holding her hand walking across to the park'. And that was it. I just kind of thought 'I'm doing the right thing here'."

Lorraine, who greets fellow staff members as we walk down the corridor at the TV studio, denies that she has had a falling out with the station management.

"No, there's absolutely no animosity and I'm not a fighter -- I'm not that type of person. I put so much thought into my resignation and, you know, did it the right way so that there wouldn't be any ill feeling. They've been my work family for almost 11 years. And who's to say I won't work here again?

"I'm not giving up work for good -- I'm just taking a break. I've been working full-time since I was 18 and I need to take some time out, especially when the children are young."

So what's next for Lorraine? While speculation has been rife that she's been lured away to work at RTE, she says there aren't any work projects in the pipeline.

"It's mad that I have the summer off!" she says. "I've never had more than two weeks off -- even my honeymoon was only a week and both times I went on maternity leave I came back early because of work. I am excited but I'm very emotional about it because it's so weird and it's such a big change.

"But I'm very happy and I know I'm doing it for the right reasons. Family has to come first."

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