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Pat Kenny: 'I didn’t know about Gerry Ryan’s coke habit'

Kenny tells listeners he had no idea about Ryan’s cocaine problems – and says RTÉ would have intervened if it did.

Pat Kenny kisses Morah Ryan, separated wife of broadcaster Gerry, at the star's funeral in May of this year.
Pat Kenny kisses Morah Ryan, separated wife of broadcaster Gerry, at the star's funeral in May of this year.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/

PAT KENNY has broken RTÉ’s silence on Gerry Ryan’s cocaine use, saying he was totally unaware of his late friend’s drug problems.

Speaking on his show this morning as panellists reviewed the main stories of the week, Kenny said he was “deeply shocked” to learn that his late colleague – with whom he had been close friends – had had a drug problem in the time leading up to his death.

“I had no idea he had an issue with cocaine at the time of his death. If I had, I would have tried to help him,” Kenny said. “I’m not saying that I would have gone running down to Donnybrook Garda Station, you know, but I certainly would have tried to help him in that regard.”

Rubbishing thoughts that many within RTÉ’s Montrose campus were aware of Ryan’s problems, Kenny shared that the genuine belief of RTÉ staff following Ryan’s death was that his lifestyle had simply caught up with him.

The rumour was, there was nothing untoward, that Gerry had had a massive heart attack – [that] his lifestyle, food and cigars and all that, had contributed towards a heart condition.

So there was no expectiation that the inquest would prove anything other than what we knew at the time of his sudden death. So it was with great shock that that news came out.

RTÉ had always acted with the interests of its employees in mind when it had learned of its employees’ substance abuse problems, Kenny said, saying that the broadcaster had ensured the rehabilitation of many of his former colleagues when they had developed alcoholism.

Rumours that Ryan had taken cocaine at work without the knowledge of his colleagues could also not have been true, he added, because 2fm’s offices in the Montrose complex were open plan.

Kenny defended the apparent refusal of senior figures within RTÉ to issue comment after the ruling of Ryan’s inquest – which last week returned a verdict of death by misadventure, after traces of cocaine were found in his bloodstream – and also took issue with the criticism of Ben Dunne, himself a former cocaine user.

“We were all criticised by Ben Dunne, saying ‘Why didn’t his friends speak…’ His friends actually didn’t know! I mean, how many of Ben Dunne’s friends knew before they saw him hanging off a balcony in Florida that he was having a cocaine problem?”

Kenny (62) also denied that there had been any hypocricy on the part of broadcasters who treated middle-class use of the drug differently to that of the working classes, saying he had consistently been outspoken in equating the two, and saying both were “feeding into a crime scene.”

Kenny and Ryan had been close friends throughout the pair’s time working for RTÉ; Kenny had famously allowed Ryan and his wife Morah to use his villa in Greece for their honeymoon, after the newlywed Ryans were unable to afford their own holiday.

Audio: Pat Kenny shares shock at Ryan inquest ruling >

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Gavan Reilly

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