Saturday 20 January 2018

'Maybe people want to see if I will wear it again' - Miriam laughs off 'chokergate'

Miriam O'Callaghan. Old Abbey Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Miriam O'Callaghan. Old Abbey Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Miriam with choker

RTE'S Miriam O'Callaghan has said it doesn't bother her that what she and other women wear on TV attracts so much comment while their male colleagues are generally ignored

"I don't really mind at this stage. I realise the nature of the beast," she said.

The glamorous presenter and mother of eight (left) made headlines recently over her sartorial choices on screen.

The experienced journalist wore a choker on RTE One, causing a flurry of comments online.

A few days later, news anchor Sharon Ni Bheolain caused a similar stir when she donned a leather biker jacket to present the news.

The focus on Miriam's fashion choices doesn't faze her, she said, and laughed as she recalled the choker incident, which was quickly dubbed "Chokergate".

"We got a very big audience the next night and we were joking, saying maybe people were tuning in to see if I'd wear it again," she said, laughing.

Miriam said her Prime Time colleague David McCullagh could present the show "wearing 25 yellow bikinis and not that many people would remark, and then, obviously, if you're a woman people remark all the time".

Miriam with choker

"But look, it's all a bit of fun," she added. "There was that famous story about the male presenter who did the experiment when he wore the same suit every day for a year and no one noticed.

"It's boring for men - they have to wear suits all the time."

Turning to more serious matters, Miriam (55) refused to be drawn when questioned at an event yesterday on any plans she might have to run for office in the future.


She has said it was an honour to have her name linked to a presidential bid, but refused to break her silence on reports that she was considering running.

"It's an unbelievable honour, but I wouldn't want to talk about it, I've said that before," she told the Herald.

The broadcaster's name was linked to a presidential campaign bid earlier this year, but she has yet to comment on whether she could see herself replacing Michael D Higgins.

She deferred instead to her colleague McCullagh to field questions about her political career.

"I think Miriam could do whatever Miriam wanted to do," he said when asked if he thought "President O'Callaghan" would do a good job.

The last Aras campaign, in 2011, saw intense scrutiny of the policies and backgrounds of the candidates who included Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell, Independent Sean Gallagher and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein.

At one point in 2011 there was speculation that another RTE broadcaster, Gay Byrne, was toying with becoming a candidate, but he ultimately ruled himself out.


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