By Kieran O’Mahony
A BANDON woman who appeared on The Late Late Show with Gay Byrne on three occasions has paid tribute to the late broadcaster who died last week at the age of 85.
Anna Gabriel (27) – whose godmother is Bono’s wife Ali Hewson – was just six-years-old when she first appeared on the show with her parents Robert and Helen Gabriel, in 1998.
They were on the show with Adi Roche from Children Chernobyl International (CCI) to highlight Irish families who had adopted children from Chernobyl. Anna had been living with the Gabriels for two years before she made her Late Late debut.
‘Gay was a true gentleman and he made me feel so welcome and very much at ease on my first appearance on The Late Late,’ Anna told The Southern Star.
‘He took me by the hand to show me around the studio before the show so that I would be relaxed before I appeared on live TV. After the show we had great fun in the green room.’
Anna added that Gay often enquired about her health and well-being afterwards.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in 2016, Anna also appeared on The Late Late Show with Ali and Adi Roche with Ryan Tubridy as host.
CCI’s Adi Roche also paid tribute to Gay and said that the charity’s first appearance on the show was ‘a game changer’ as it brought the story of Chernobyl into Irish homes.
‘Gay was the man who put us on the map and gave us the building blocks to develop the charity. He was able to take the story of Chernobyl to a national audience,’ Adi told The Southern Star.
‘He was very touched by the stories and he stayed very engaged with us over the years and also gave us personal advice too. We became good friends and we are all the poorer following the death of him,’ said Adi.
Adi added that for CCI, it most certainly ‘all started on The Late Late Show.’