RTÉ’s Sharon Ní Bheoláin complains of ‘disgraceful’ intrusion into her private life

News presenter says photographs of her walking a dog upset her more than stalker

RTÉ News presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin.

RTÉ News presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin.

Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 16:54

RTÉ News presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin has described newspaper pictures of her walking her dog at the weekend as “disgraceful” and said the papers involved were “rags”.

Ms Ní Bheoláin was photographed bringing a dog for a walk near her home at the weekend wearing tartan pyjamas, a beige cardigan and a beanie hat.

Ms Ní Bheoláin admitted she looked like “Johnny Forty Coats” and a “dog’s dinner”, but she said she had the right to go about private business without being “papped”.

“I don’t set myself up as a supermodel. I’m a working journalist. I scrub up well. It is my right to throw on my slouchy pants and my Ugg boots and battered old cardigan and it is my right to scrub up when I want to without thinking there are paparazzi on the street. This isn’t the Kardashians for God’s sake. I may be on the television every night, but my lifestyle is very, very ordinary.”

She has been the victim of an alleged stalker who has sent her explicit letters and emails. The 37-year-old suspect has been questioned by gardaí and a file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Speaking on Liveline this afternoon, the presenter told Joe Duffy that the attention from the tabloid press upset her more than the letters and emails had done.

She claimed she was not well equipped to deal with the attention of photographers who took photographs of her without her permission while she was out walking a dog. “That disturbed me more than any deranged stalker,” she said.

She said that the person who had stalked her probably had mental issues, but the same could not be said for the photographer who took photographs outside her house.

“I’ve dealt with it (the stalking), ” she explained. “These are people trawling porn sites day and night and probably unwell in themselves. I hope these people get the help they need to make something of their lives.

“The person who hid behind a bush made a conscious decision to do that and I’m assuming that he wasn’t mentally unwell. He wanted to make a few bob and he did and I think that is disgusting as one journalist to another journalist to whoever they were.”

Ms Ní Bheoláin said she had resigned from the NUJ as a result of a previous episode where she was snapped.

She maintained that she does not “play ball” with the tabloid press. “I don’t buy these rags. I don’t do anything for these tabloids. I don’t see why I should. I don’t rely on them. I don’t need them.

“I don’t have to deal with this kind of rubbish. I don’t see why I should. I won’t ever seek The Sun, The Mirror, the Star or any of these rags. I’ll never, ever, ever pander to them.”

“I took a hands off approach. The harassment was dealt with by the gardaí. They dealt with it fantastically well and I didn’t open my mouth.”