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McWilliams drops book signing as Miriam row rages

David McWilliams has pulled out of a book signing as the storm over his "sexist" comments about Miriam O'Callaghan continues to rage.

Mr McWilliams was due to sign copies of his new book Follow The Money in Eason on O'Connell Street tonight, but the appearance has been postponed.

The economist has been at the centre of controversy after likening an interview with Prime Time presenter Ms O'Callaghan to being "seduced".

He was also criticised for revealing details in his book of private meetings with Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan.

However, a representative of Eason said David's last-minute postponement has nothing to do with the backlash over the controversial comments.

"David actually contacted us last week to let us know that it wouldn't be possible to go ahead on Wednesday night," she said.

Mr McWilliams has also defended being paid €10,000 for the Farmleigh economic forum, in spite of the fact that he was the only guest to be compensated for their attendance.

The Addicted To Money presenter said it was unreasonable to suggest he shouldn't be paid, saying that it would be like "asking your plumber to fix your drains for nothing".

The Global Irish Economic Forum was organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs in September an attempt to "reboot" the Irish economy.

Mr McWilliams confirmed that other participants did not receive money for transport costs or their attendance. However, he said he was providing a personal service, unlike the majority, who travelled on behalf of corporations.

According to figures from the Department the economist received €4,000 for moderating two discussions at the €309,515 event, and was paid an additional €6,000 for "consultancy and promotional activities".

Despicable

Mr McWilliams could not be contacted for a comment regarding the cancelled book signing.

In the latest criticism of the book, chief economist with Friends First Jim Power said it was "despicable" of Mr McWilliams to write about the Lenihan meetings.

Mr McWilliams, who is due to begin presenting RTE show The Panel on Thursday night, also suggested that Miriam O' Callaghan could be "Hannah Montana's ma".

The mum of eight immediately hit back, branding the star "sexist" and insisting: "Yuck. I'm really, really, really not seducing you."

hnews@herald.ie