Jump to content

Brendan O'Connor (media personality)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brendan O'Connor
Born (1970-01-23) 23 January 1970 (age 54)[1]
EducationUniversity College Cork (UCC)
Occupation(s)Columnist, television presenter, comedian
Employer(s)Sunday Independent, Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Known for
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[2][3]
SpouseSarah Caden[3] (m. 1999)

Brendan O'Connor (born 23 January 1970) is an Irish media personality and comedian. He presents the Current Affairs panel show Cutting Edge on RTÉ. He presented The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ from 2010 to 2015, he is also known for his columns in the Sunday Independent newspaper.[4] He is also editor of the newspaper's Life Magazine.[3][5]

O'Connor's pop career included a one-hit wonder as Fr Brian & The Fun Loving Cardinals, the comedy song "Who's in the House?", reaching number 3 in the Irish charts.

O'Connor has pursued varied media career over several decades in Ireland. During the 1990s he appeared on Don't Feed the Gondolas, as well as on a number of other TV programmes. During the 2000s he served a member of the judging panel on Raidió Teilifís Éireann's (RTÉ) You're a Star TV talent contest before presenting The Apprentice: You're Fired! and The Saturday Night Show. With a salary of €228,500 in 2011, he is one of RTÉ's highest paid stars.[6]

Early life


O'Connor grew up in the Bishopstown area of Cork in County Cork.[7][8] He is a past pupil of Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Cork.[2][3] During his time there as a student, he was runner-up in the All-Ireland Schools' Debating Competition. He is also a graduate of University College Cork (UCC)[2][3] — where he was Recording Secretary of the UCC Philosophical Society.[3] He famously lost the Minutes Book of the "Golden Age" at a party.

"Who's in the House" and Don't Feed the Gondolas


Initially, O'Connor attempted to become a comedian and was also a singer in a number of bands while still a student at UCC, but with limited success, including the band that eventually became The Frank and Walters.[3] He moved to Dublin in the mid-1990s.[3] Soon after this, he started freelance work with the Sunday Independent,[3] one of Ireland's best-selling newspapers. At the same time he also performed a comedy routine at a well-known Dublin venue.[3] He was noticed by TV producers from RTÉ and joined Don't Feed the Gondolas, a comedy television programme broadcast by RTÉ that ran for four seasons.[3] O'Connor was one of the team captains on the panel, and after 2 seasons took over as host.[3]

O'Connor, as a member of the band Fr Brian & The Fun Loving Cardinals, produced a single, "Who's in the House?",[9] which spent 12 weeks in the Irish Singles Chart, peaking at number 3. The song was a novelty number that played on the popularity of the TV series Father Ted. O'Connor sang it while dressed as a trendy Roman Catholic priest (Fr Brian) and it featured such lines as:

  • "The parish disco is strictly drug-free",
  • "Saved their souls when he was nailed to a cross - some call him Jesus, I call him boss",
  • "Who’s in the house? Jesus in the house", and
  • "Putting the diction back in Benediction."[10]

The name "Fun Lovin' Cardinals" is itself a pun on the band Fun Lovin' Criminals. The character Fr Brian had appeared on Don't Feed the Gondolas,[11] and the popularity of the song led to its release, and subsequent chart position.

You're a Star TV talent contest


In 2005, O'Connor made his debut as a judge on Charity You're a Star, a charitable version of the You're a Star TV talent contest. Subsequently, he appeared as a judge on the main series of You're a Star. This was a televised talent show which selected what is deemed to be the best Irish act from among many. The winner was awarded a cash prize and groomed for a career in the entertainment industry. It had a niche following - primarily teenagers. Much of the show's popularity was attributed to the robust manner with which O'Connor treated many of the contestants - many of whom were gullible young hopefuls. He frequently evoked controversy with his comments on the show. However, on You're a Star, O'Connor claimed that he was "only saying what the people at home are thinking".[9] The show was cancelled after the 2008 season.

Sunday Independent column


In many of his newspaper articles on Irish politics, O'Connor strongly supports Fianna Fáil. He was also a supporter of Bertie Ahern and has described Ahern as "a great Taoiseach".[12]

O'Connor frequently writes an article that appears on the bottom corner of the front page of the Sunday Independent. He also edits the paper's Life magazine, a glossy supplement to the paper. Articles by O'Connor also appear throughout many other sections of the paper. He writes on an extremely broad range of topics—which can include any subject. He regularly writes on subjects such as politics, travel, entertainment and gossip (primarily relating to well-known figures in Irish life).

His writing has been described as shallow, bipolar and at times racist. Irish political magazine The Phoenix, has criticised his journalism, saying:

O'Connor appeared to believe that jokes and jibes in the Sindo about the elderly, Romanians, travellers, environmentalists, anti-war protesters and Republicans as well as individuals who were perceived as disrespectful to the newspaper, amounts to comic relief.[13]

Support for Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fáil


O'Connor frequently refers to Bertie Ahern in his articles simply and affectionately as "Bertie". His "relationship" with Ahern has been tense. In August 2003 he had a row with Ahern on a flight returning from Ahern's daughter's wedding in France, when Ahern refused to grant him an interview.[3] O'Connor has also criticised Ahern at times, like in his article in the Sunday Independent, 9 May 2004, where he wrote:

Bertie is a party leader who has knowingly promoted crooked colleagues in the past. He is a party leader who has been notoriously slow to take sanctions against colleagues who've been up to their necks in all kinds of serious, deliberate, premeditated corruption.[14]

In this same article O'Connor lamented the expulsion of Beverley Flynn, a TD, from the Fianna Fáil Party for the second time arising out of corruption charges, stating that she was "indeed a class act and is someone we need more of in Irish politics."[14] He also referred to her as a "principled woman".[14]

Criticism of Ahern by O'Connor has been minimal, overall O'Connor has backed Ahern, especially when such support was most needed. O'Connor, along with Eoghan Harris, strongly supported Bertie Ahern during the 2007 general election and during his appearances before the Mahon Tribunal. Ahern subsequently appointed Harris as a Senator.

As pressure grew on Bertie Ahern due to revelations from the Mahon Tribunal (regarding unexplained payments Ahern had received in the 1990s), O'Connor called for the Tribunal to be shut down:

It should be shut down. It should be shut down now. There is no appetite for it, no real interest in it. We cannot afford it in financial terms and we can no longer afford the virtual paralysis of affairs of state it has visited on us.[15]

On Wednesday, 2 April 2008, Bertie Ahern announced he would be resigning as Taoiseach and did so on 6 May 2008.[16] Investigations into payments Ahern received are ongoing.

On Friday, 19 February 2010, Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea resigned as Minister for Defence for committing perjury in front of the High Court. Two days later in his weekly column in the Sunday Independent, O'Connor entered into a vitriolic attack on the politicians who called for his resignation, especially Green Party Senator Dan Boyle:

And no matter what anyone says, it was a Boyle flounce that led us to the sorry pass at which we find ourselves this weekend.[17]

Role in the Bertie-era Irish property bubble


O'Connor was a leading voice in the Irish media endorsing the high valuation of Irish property during the peak of the Irish property bubble.

On 12 November 2006 he wrote an article in the Sunday Tribune, "So who's the real daddy of the Pope's Children"[18] that ridiculed David McWilliams – who was one of the principal voices during the property bubble who warned about the potential effect on the Irish property market of interest rate increases, over-supply, the fact that average wages had fallen way behind the average price of a house, and existing high levels of personal indebtedness.[19]

On 21 Jan 2007 O’Connor penned an article "Jade Cowen and the Big Housing Bother that needs to be voted off".[20] Here he urged his readers, "... There is only one answer to all this. We must stand firm. Don't sell right now. This is as bad as it gets, and while it's scary, important decisions shouldn't be made in a time of panic. Hang on a year. Don't be pushed around by Cowen and smug buyers who think they're in the driving seat..."

Soon after that on 11 Feb 2007 O’Connor advocated in another piece, "Shout from the rooftops: house prices are rising",[21] his opinion that "... Furthermore the economy looks healthy, demand for houses will increase as we continue to add about 100,000 people a year to our population, and as there are fewer people per household, more households are needed for the same number of people. And job creation continues apace too. All of these actual factors point to a healthy property market. And by healthy we mean house prices going up...".

In July 2007, O'Connor penned what became his most notorious article, "The smart, ballsy guys are buying up property right now",[22] advising his readers to invest in property, saying that "... the really smart and ballsy guys are the guys who are buying when no one else is... " and, ".... if I wasn't already massively over-exposed to the property market by virtue of owning a reasonable home, I'd be buying property...".

Later on, post-collapse of the Irish property market, O’Connor wrote on 14 June 2009,[23] "... As a homeowner, in massive negative equity, who knows a lot of other homeowners who are in massive negative equity, I want to know why John Hurley, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, has a job. I want to know who the f--ck John Hurley thinks he is. He and his Central Bank cronies have made a complete balls of this country. I want John Hurley fired...".

And on 10 January 2010 he wrote an article, "No use cursing day we mounted property ladder"[24] where he lamented the media's role in the bubble - "... All those paper millions that made us all feel so rich are gone, and now we curse the day we ever got on the ladder, we curse the ancestry that gave us this obsession with the land, and we curse the politicians, the banks and the media that encouraged the madness...”.

Also in January 2010, O'Connor castigated a journalist who brought up the subject of his July 2007 "ballsy" article during an interview.[25] O'Connor claimed that the article contained valid opinions originating from original thinking. The journalist related in his article how O’Connor became angry, and didn't let him speak, with O'Connor claiming, “… I came here and opened up out of respect. And you know why? Because I believe in freedom of speech. Anyone else would have said 'I'm not sitting down with that c**t'. Seriously they would. You went away and found a piece in Google and harangued me on this one piece I wrote in 15 years of writing... Look, I've no wish to airbrush over anything I've written in the past," he says. "But do I regret it? No, because it was valid position at the time. So yes I got it wrong in one article..."

In April 2010 he again returned to the topic with an article entitled, "Let someone walk all over you...".[26] This article made analogy of abusive domestic personal relationships with the central banks' position that caution must be exercised with respect to bailing out those with mortgage difficulties. O' Connor used this device to make emotional appeal writing such as, "... naturally, like everyone in an abusive relationship, we are tending to blame ourselves in some way..." and, "... Clearly the Central Bank thinks that we are so battered and bruised at this stage, and that we have taken so much crap from them, that we will put up with anything..."



O'Connor supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States government.[3]

In early 2004, O'Connor enraged some of his colleagues by strongly supporting management during an industrial relations crisis over forced redundancy.[3]

The Saturday Night Show


In 2010, O'Connor began hosting TV chat programme The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ One. His controversial interview with Michael Barrymore brought him to the attention of the British press.[27][28] His interview with Oliver Callan, during which the impressionist announced he was gay, brought him to the attention of the international press.[29][30][31][32][33]

On 14 March 2015, O'Connor announced without warning live on air his resignation as host of The Saturday Night Show and that the show would finish for good at the end of that series on 30 May 2015.[34]

Personal life


O'Connor married Sarah Caden in 1999.[2] She is also a journalist with the Sunday Independent and she is the daughter of John Caden, an independent television producer.[3] The couple have two children, a daughter, born in early 2008, Anna and a daughter born in August 2010, Mary.[35][36] O'Connor wrote about her diagnosis with Down syndrome in his Sunday Independent column in September 2010, drawing a warm response from readers.[37][38]

O'Connor tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2022.[39]

See also



  1. ^ https://www.tribune.ie/archive/article/2006/dec/03/judge-dreadful/[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d "Biography for Brendan O'Connor". The Internet Movie Database Website. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Millar, Scott; Maggie Kenneally; Chekov Feeney (10 August 2006). "Making a living from being a boor...His bark is as bad as his bite". Village. Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  4. ^ O'Connor, Brendan. "Opinion: Brendan O'Connor". Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  5. ^ "PAPER PROPHET Brendan O'Connor". Sunday Independent. 25 February 2007. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  6. ^ O'Connell, Hugh (27 March 2013). "RTÉ reveals stars' salaries: Ryan Tubridy was paid €723,000 in 2011, according to figures released by the State broadcaster this evening". TheJournal.ie. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  7. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (15 October 2006). "'We end up in a gay bar, clearly a man's gay bar, because there were no lesbians, and I realise that now that women are allowed into the golf clubs, these places are the last bastions of masculinity'". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  8. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (9 October 2005). "'I'm surprised that Dita Von Teese, who provided the entertainment, didn't come over to me, and say, "My Granny is here and she'd really love to meet you."'". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  9. ^ a b "You're a Star – Judges: Brendan O'Connor". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Video of Brendan O'Connor singing 'Who's in the House?'". YouTube Website (youtube.com). Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  11. ^ "How I became a manic street preacher". Sunday Independent. 30 April 2000. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  12. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (13 April 2008). "Tearing down a leader is an event to dwell on". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  13. ^ "Pillars of Society: Brendan O'Connor" (PDF). The Phoenix. 29 January 2010. p. 16. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  14. ^ a b c O'Connor, Brendan (9 May 2004). "It's a sad day for politics when Bev is hunted out". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  15. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (9 March 2008). "Time's up Mahon, it is getting tedious". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  16. ^ "Kenny calls for fresh election after Taoiseach resigns". Irish Independent. 2 April 2008. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  17. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (21 February 2010). "So who elected Flouncer Boyle to run the country?". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  18. ^ "Sunday Tribune - Internet Archive". 15 November 2006. Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "RTÉ Television - In Search of the Pope's Children". www.rte.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Jade Cowen and the Big Housing Bother that needs to be voted off - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Shout from the rooftops: house prices are rising - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  22. ^ "The smart, ballsy guys are buying up property right now - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Hurley and his banker cronies have ruined this country. Fire him now - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Brendan O'Connor: No use cursing day we mounted property ladder - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  25. ^ "'Anyone can be like Fintan O'Toole and follow the consensus: be for t…". archive.li. 27 January 2010. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  26. ^ "Let someone walk all over you . . ". independent. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  27. ^ "Barrymore Behaves Bizarrely on Irish TV". Sky News. 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  28. ^ "Michael Barrymore pretends to be Jedward's dad in excruciating live TV appearance". Daily Mirror. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  29. ^ Horan, Niamh (30 October 2011). "I'm not homophobic I'm a homosexual, reveals comic Oliver Callan". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  30. ^ Michelson, Noah (31 October 2011). "Oliver Callan, Comedian on Ireland's 'Nob Nation' And 'Green Tea' Radio Shows, Denies Homophobia, Comes Out on Live Television". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  31. ^ Tevlin, Rory (31 October 2011). "Comic accused of being homophobic admits he's gay on live TV". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  32. ^ "Comic Oliver Callan Says He's Gay And Doesn't Give A Sh*t". On Top Magazine. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  33. ^ Gray, Stephen (31 October 2011). "Homophobia question prompts Irish radio comedian to come out". Pink News. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  34. ^ "Brendan O'Connor bids emotional farewell to The Saturday Night Show". evoke.ie. 1 June 2015. Archived from the original on 2 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  35. ^ The Late Late Show. (RTÉ One), Friday, 18 January 2008. Here it was stated during his appearance on the program that his wife was expecting a baby soon - Click here to watch the video on RTÉ's Website (Scroll down to 'YOU'RE A STAR HOPEFULS & JUDGES' and click on the link). Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  36. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (6 April 2008). "'Funny, the things you call babies. I call mine a different one each time I see her: it could be the name of an African tyrant, a cake mix brand, whatever'". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  37. ^ "'A prayer for my daughter' touches the hearts of people all over the country". Sunday Independent. 19 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  38. ^ "Thank you for slaying our ignorance". Sunday Independent. 19 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  39. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (13 March 2022). "Mid-life crisis: 'I'm livid that there's nothing wrong with me — apart from having the Covid'". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 13 March 2022.