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Tubridy defends 'soft' interview with pal Ronan as storm grows

RYAN TUBRIDY has defended his controversial interview with Ronan Keating telling his viewers that the love cheat did not deserve a grilling.

Today, Tubridy (37) is now acting as the ‘beacon of discretion’ at the State broadcaster, dictating just exactly who should be subjected to an in-depth interview on his show.

And in another twist, Keating (34) revealed the two had agreed, in a shocking pre-show pact, what exactly they would discuss.

Although RTE has insisted no limits were put in place by Keating, Ryan took it upon himself to go easy on the Boyzone singer. A tide of criticism has engulfed RTE after Friday night's Late Late Show when Keating was given an easy time following his marriage infidelities.

The interview was kept until late in the show to attract the largest possible audience and on the assumption that Mr Keating's affair with dancer Francine Cornell would be discussed.

Despite being a social networking aficionado, Tubridy said that “trial by Twitter is not the answer to proper journalism”, but said that he did receive some texts on the issue which questioned why people like Taoiseach Brian Cowen had “got a grilling”, and others like his “friend” Ronan did not.

“Brian Cowen was the Taoiseach and deserved a grilling…Ronan Keating's a pop star and he appears to have had some indiscretion - you've read about it, you know about it, I asked him about it, and he answered,” he told listeners of his 2FM show.

“He's trying to get on with it - he has little children, and they're going to school today and I respect that. What more do you want? Do you want him to be grilled?”

And Tubridy even admitted that he read the only Sunday newspaper that didn't publish articles concerning his interview.

“I didn't buy the papers yesterday, except the Sunday Times. I don't believe in dwelling on the negative stuff, it's not my bag. If it really bothers you, there's plenty of places to go today to talk about it.”

Unsurprisingly, the only person who seemingly didn't have a problem with the interview was the one person who got off lightly - Ronan Keating.

Today the singer admitted Tubridy agreed not to ask any personal questions about the state of his marriage.

For many viewers it was proof that Ryan Tubridy is not up to the job of being a serious interrogator of guests in the style of Gay Byrne or Pat Kenny.

Private

Boyzone singer Ronan let the cat out of the bag and admitted that the content of the interview was set up beforehand, with his “friend” Tubridy.

“Ryan and I are friends and he was good to me on Friday,” Ronan said today. “We spoke before the interview on how it was going to go. That's my private life, and regardless of how many questions someone's going to ask, I'm not going to answer.

“They'll say whatever they want to say, I'll keep my private life private as I always have. Thank you to Ryan, fair play. I hope he doesn't get too hard a time,” he told Ian Dempsey on Today FM this morning.

Today an RTE spokesman said Tubridy did meet with Keating beforehand and discussed the interview, “which is nothing unusual”.

Friday night's controversial Late Late Show was billed as one of the biggest of the year, with the pint-sized performer finally expected to give a candid interview about his seven-month affair with Francine Cornell and subsequent split from wife Yvonne.

While Ronan unsurprisingly blamed the media for his fall from grace – conspicuously leaving out any mention of his sordid affair with a backing dancer – it is Ryan who is now feeling the wrath of RTE viewers. The lanky broadcaster has come under fire for going easy on the shamed singer.

Fans have since gone so far as to demand his resignation after being left bitterly disappointed by the “boring” interview. One fan branded him as “the highest paid coward in Ireland”.