Gay Byrne reveals he regrets spending so much time working in RTE

"Now it's too late and I can't do it any longer because I have a stick and a crutch and all of that."

Gay Byrne outside RTE Radio studios

Gay Byrne has admitted that he has many regrets in his life, including the amount of time he spent working in RTE.

The legendary broadcaster was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2016 and has been going through ‘gruelling’ treatment including radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The 83-year-old now says he regrets he didn’t take more time off to enjoy life with his wife and daughters Suzy and Crona.

Speaking about what he learned from his illness, he admitted: “Not a lot, I learned how bloody miserable it is. I learned that I don’t suffer easily. I rail against it. The other mistake I made, and other people may feel the same way is I tried to fit in my treatment and sickness with all the other things I was doing, I didn’t see why I should give up anything, but I was totally wrong. I should have said this year is for me to try to get on top of this disease.”

Gay also spoke to Ray D’Arcy on his radio show about the things he would change.

“I do have great regrets…I have only brief little snatches of memories of Crona and Suzy growing up. I regret that.

“Generally speaking, I regret now the amount of time I gave to this place, you know? It was an awful lot of time and I should have taken time to do other things and I had the opportunity to do other things but I was dedicated to the place,” he admitted.

The Plough & The Stars at The Abbey

Having said that, Gay revealed he also feels lucky to have been able to do what he did in his career.

“I got what I wanted from life. I ended up being what I had wanted to be for the time I was 14 or 15 years of age. To how many people in the world is that given? That they end up doing exactly what they intended to do. I lived my dream.“

“It took time and most of my energy and a lot of hours. Now, we went away on holidays of course, and the girls had a wonderful life growing up of course. They benefited from my being their father and Kathleen being their mother. nonetheless, I regret that now when it’s too late that didn’t force myself to take the time off and do some of the things I would have liked to have done. And now it’s too late and I can’t do it any longer because I have a stick and a crutch and all of that.”

Gay Byrne outside RTE Radio studios

Speaking about the prospect of mortality Gay said: “Obviously I’m closer to the exit than the entry door and it’s coming faster. And there’s nothing I can do to avoid it. And this thing that I have will probably hasten it but if that’s to be, that’s to be.

“There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not afraid of dying, I’ve no fear of dying whatsoever but I don’t want to die in agony and I don’t want to lie in a bed with 15 tubes coming out of me for, you know, two years or something. Give me the morphine switch and I’ll look after myself. Thank you very much.”

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