For yo be tar that... scary

Brian Or­mond opens up bomb at­tack that could

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

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

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