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RTE boss is blasted over Ryan comments

GERRY Ryan's former agent has hit out at the head of RTE radio for not allowing him to "rest in peace".

'Agent to the stars' Noel Kelly, who represented the late broadcaster prior to his tragic death in April, has blasted RTE radio boss Claire Duignan for making "inappropriate" comments about the star.

Duignan hit the headlines last week after making a string of controversial comments when referring to the late broadcaster, which are thought to have enraged those close to the star.

She initially made the comments in response to Marian Finucane's claims that he was "really very, very stressed" about work prior to his untimely death earlier this year.

The radio boss said that she was "very surprised" at Finucane's observations. "I would not have said he was stressed about work and I would have been the person who he dealt with a lot on these matters," she told the Irish Times.

"I'm not saying that the conversation Marian seemed to base that on didn't take place, but I have had conversations with family and close friends and I have not had a sense that was the case."

But the RTE chief became the target of upset when she said that Ryan caused "worry" because he wasn't a "gym bunny".

"He was a man in his 50s. He liked to eat and drink and socialise. He was not a gym bunny and you worry about somebody like that, especially when they are in a highly pressurised job," she said.

Mr Kelly has blasted the comments -- saying that even if the quotes were taken out of context, they were still drudging up negative memories for those close to the tragic broadcaster.

"I think that Gerry Ryan should be left to rest in peace. I also feel it is inappropriate for the managing director of radio to make such comments, even if they were taken out of context," he said.

But Ms Duignan was not shy about admitting her personal dealings with Ryan -- saying she confronted him earlier about his refusal to take a 10pc pay cut, which was expected of all of RTE's 2,300 staff.

cmcbride@herald.ie