VETERAN broadcaster Cathal O’Shannon has outed himself as a serial womaniser who cheated repeatedly on his wife.
The shock revelation will be aired tomorrow night in a documentary about him by family friend Paul Cusack – one of actor Cyril Cusack’s sons.
As well as paying tribute to his wife, the late Sunday Press social diarist Patsy Dyke, he tells of his deep sense of regret at having been unfaithful to her during their 50-year marriage.
In the RTÉ documentary, Cathal O’Shannon: Telling Tales, the journalist – whose interviews include a well-known session with Muhammad Ali in 1972 – admits to several affairs.
Although his wife found out, they stayed devoted to each other till her death from cancer in 2006.
He said: ‘She deserved more of my attention. She was a wonderful woman. And died very bravely. With great f****** courage.’
Of his infidelity, he said: ‘When Patsy discovered it, it was right that I admitted it and it’s right that people should know.
‘I was a s***e and it should be known to people that I was not just the happy laughing boy.’
He said that he decided to come clean in the documentary because it was ‘an honest thing to do’.
And Mr O’Shannon – who worked on the flagship BBC news programme, Tonight, in the 1960s – added: ‘My wife discovered it, to her great hurt. So I deserve for it to be known; it serves me right.’
He says his affairs were ‘flirtations’ that led to ‘bedding’ but he never had any intention of splitting from his wife.
In the programme, Mr O’Shannon – who made the renowned 1976 documentary on the Spanish civil war, Even The Olives Are Bleeding – talks about his childhood, and his politician father Cathal Sr, who was in the IRB and was arrested for his part in the 1916 Rising.
The broadcaster tells how, after a strict and brutal Christian Brothers education, he ran away in 1945 ‘to become a Spitfire pilot’ with the Royal Air Force.
He was posted to Burma with the RAF for two years and it was from here that he started his journalistic career. .
Cathal O’Shannon: Telling Tales – RTÉ One tomorrow at 10.40pm.