Gay Byrne’s daughter says she had no issue with Mr Tayto tweet

Crona Byrne says her father would have laughed at crisp-company controversy

The deleted sad Mr Tayto that the crisp company had tweeted after Gay Byrne’s death

The deleted sad Mr Tayto that the crisp company had tweeted after Gay Byrne’s death


A daughter of the broadcaster Gay Byrne, whose funeral takes place on Friday, says her father would have laughed at the controversy about the use of a sad Mr Tayto crisp mascot reacting to the news that he had died.

Byrne died at his home in the company of his wife, Kathleen Watkins, and daughters, Crona and Suzy, in Howth, Co Dublin, on Monday after being ill with prostate cancer. He was 85. 

Tayto, the crisp manufacturer, deleted the social-media post that paid tribute to him following thousands of objections. Under the sad Mr Tayto, the tweet read: “It’s a sad day for the Nation. Rest in peace Gay.”

His elder daughter, Crona, made her comment after the broadcaster and author Gareth O’Callaghan, a family friend, criticised the removal of the image from Twitter as an “overreaction” and said naysayers needed to “cop on” following an online backlash accusing the crisp manufacturer of overstepping the marketing line.

Ms Byrne said: “I certainly don’t have an issue with the post from Mr Tayto and I certainly don’t think that Dad would have had either.”

‘Politically correct’

O’Callaghan left his role at Classic Hits FM on September 1st last year after receiving a diagnosis of multiple system atrophy, a rare neurodegenerative illness.

On his Facebook page, the broadcaster posted: “Mr Tayto might not be a real person to many. But his sentiments in this caption are, and they express the same sad feelings that so many real people feel... and maybe that’s the point of the cartoon. Animation is just a more adaptable version of reality.

“Think of The Simpsons. Sometimes it helps to see the sadness of life, and in turn the reality of life’s truths, through the eyes of an animated cartoon character that so many children love and can relate to, in order to make sense of what lies ahead of us all; and, in doing so, to make the confusion of all that stretches out before us that little bit easier to deal with.

“Instead, sadly, the PC opportunists seized the chance here to jump on board and abjectly denounce something that many of us feel is both poignant and harmless.”

“The people who objected to this clever and endearing little piece of animation genius clearly need to cop on, and understand that life is too short for their chronically constipated, rose-tinted view of what they believe the rest of us should all be thinking”.

To which Ms Byrne added: “Gareth, well said as always.”

Gay Byrne’s funeral Mass takes place at noon in the pro-cathedral on Marlborough Street, Dublin, and will be followed by a private burial at St Fintan’s cemetery in Sutton.