| 8.8°C Dublin

'Plane shame' radio star Neil will be back on air within days

RADIO show host Neil Prendeville is set to return to the airwaves next week after five months off following a controversy over an alleged lewd act on a plane.

Talks are under way between Prendeville and his UTV bosses over his proposed return to the air within the next 10 days, with sources expecting him to be back on air as early as Monday.

Mr Prendeville is now expected to return to the Cork radio station, 96FM, and one of his first duties will be to address the matter of his time off for listeners, according to sources.

Earlier this month, gardai confirmed that the star would not face prosecution over allegations he engaged in a lewd act on an Aer Lingus flight.

Mr Prendeville was the focus of a lengthy garda probe after allegations he first exposed himself and then masturbated underneath an in-flight magazine on the Heathrow-Cork flight on October 19 last.

The father-of-two -- who has been spending his time at his Douglas home -- was unavailable for comment yesterday.

But friends said that he is hoping for an early return to work after what one described as "a nightmare five months".

Sources at 96FM stressed that while staff are aware of the ongoing speculation, they have no knowledge of a specific return date for Mr Prendeville.





Plane

A UTV spokesman was unable to comment on the matter. A crunch meeting took place two weeks ago between the broadcaster and his UTV bosses.

It also remains unclear whether Mr Prendeville will return to the airwaves or will instead undertake a studio production or management role.

The €150,000-a-year broadcaster has been off air since the story about his alleged lewd act first broke on November 3 last.

Mr Prendeville had travelled to London as part of a contingent hoping to promote tourism to Cork and the trip included a visit to Richard Corrigan's famous Bentley's restaurant.

He said he had absolutely no recollection of the alleged lewd incident on the plane after consuming painkillers on top of three pints of Guinness, three bottles of lager and a copious amount of wine.

hnews@herald.ie