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Brian Ormond opens up bomb attack that could
Brian Ormond is not the kind of celebrity who you’d ever imagine would have to fear for his safety — or that of his family. With his telegenic face and easygoing demeanour, he has popped up on all manner of family-friendly RTÉ fodder from You’re A Star to Winning Streak. In fact, the worst criticism you could level at the perfectly inoffensive young fogey is to call him ‘Pat Kenny lite’, or, if you’re being really unkind, ‘Mr Pippa O’connor’. Who could really dislike him — or want to hurt his loved ones?
But for months the presenter has kept silent about the bomb attack on his family home that could have killed his parents, only discussing the ordeal in detail for the first time today. Here, Brian speaks exclusively about the ‘terrifying’ event that shook his entire family, explains why he never commented on it before — and admits he fears being associated with a bomb could prevent him from making it big in Britain.
Last Halloween Night, the Ormond family’s peace of mind was suddenly shattered. Brian was with his model wife, Pippa, when he got a call from his parents, Jess and Mick, to say a nail bomb had been pushed into the letterbox of their Clondalkin home. Brian’s Detective Garda brother, Michael, had been targeted by a drug gang under investigation by his department. Brian refused to comment on the horrific event then, but now, six months later, he confesses that he was truly scared and felt terribly sorry for his brother, who was ‘just doing his job’.
‘It was really scary — really frightening,’ he says. ‘It’s a very serious thing for a guard’s family to be targeted. My mum and dad really took it well. I didn’t comment on it because it was just so serious, and I didn’t want to be rude but I had to just not answer the phone to every journalist. Even now, I don’t answer private numbers or numbers I don’t know. When [ his brother] was approached he said “no comment” and then the story was printed so I just didn’t want to say anything. I felt so sorry for my brother. He was so worried and so upset over it, as it happened because of him. And the articles just made it worse. My brother has an unbelievable job, and he loves his job, but at the same time it has its downfalls.’
Despite quite naturally harbouring fears for his family’s life, Brian says he can’t thank the Gardaí enough for how they protected his family after the attack. ‘I’m so glad with the way it was handled by the guards,’ he says. ‘They were fantastic. There were so many guards around my family — it wasn’t just the night that it happened. They came back week after week to see that my mam and dad were okay.’
But Brian insists that his brother’s identity should have been hidden from the public and hopes a new law comes in to help protect Gardaí like Michael. ‘I don’t want people to think that I’m open for talking about it now — I’m not,’ he clarifies. ‘But I think with the job he does some sort of law should be brought in to protect him, so that nobody knows who he is. He is an undercover detective so why can’t he stay undercover? I just think that they should be protected more. Because it’s like a dream come true for whoever did it, to be getting all this publicity.’
Six months on from the attack, Brian says his Michael and his parents are ‘doing great’. But, as the best-known face of the family, the TV presenter can’t entirely escape the nightmare. He says he is worried that the incident will give prospective employers in Britain the wrong idea about him. ‘What was worrying me is that I am over in the UK every week meeting people, so if I have a meeting with the BBC, they will surely Google “Brian Ormond” and what would come up is “Brian, bomb” and they would be thinking, “What the hell is this guy into?” It just looks really bad if people Google my name. That’s another reason why I didn’t want to talk about before.’
Although Brian is concerned that the attack may affect his career, he has just been revealed as the new co- presenter of RTÉ’S The Big Money Game alongside Two Tube star Sinéad Kennedy. ‘I’m delighted to be doing the show with Sinéad,’ he says. ‘I’ve worked with her before and she’s great. I filled in for Marty [ Whelan] on Winning Streak before and The Big Money Game so I’m delighted.’
Landing the Big Money gig must come as some consolation for losing out to Kathryn Thomas for The Voice? Brian confesses that that was a huge disappointment. ‘Honestly, I was devastated,’ he admits. ‘People don’t know how hard it was after I didn’t get The Voice. That’s the gig that I really wanted. It was really hard to get myself back up again. At one stage