Belfast Telegraph

U2 not splitting up: McGuinness ends speculation on band's future

By Ken Sweeney

It's official - U2 are not splitting up. The band's manager, Paul McGuinness, last night flatly denied reports that the four school friends are going their separate ways after 35 years.

Known as the fifth member of U2, Mr McGuinness (60) has steered their career from local outfit to global superstars. Asked about the constant speculation that U2 have hit the end of the road, he said: "No, and I think I would have heard. Not all all. They are always working on the next record."

Fears of a U2 split began with an interview Bono gave to 'Rolling Stone' magazine last month in which he hinted that himself, Larry Mullen Jnr, the Edge and Adam Clayton may part company sometime in 2012.

"I'm not so sure the future hasn't dried up," said the 51-year-old frontman.

"It's quite likely you might hear from us next year but it's equally possible that you won't. The band may have finally run its course."

However, at the opening of a new stage version of Edna O'Brien's novel 'The Country Girls', Mr McGuinness said: "I'm not sure what was said, but I think it was a chance remark taken out of context. I would disregard it."

First published in 1960, Ms O'Brien's novel shocked the Republic of Ireland on its release and was promptly banned due to the frank approach its young female characters had towards sex. Her books were burned with the blessing of her own mother.

But half a century later, the writer, now 80, was being celebrated by a who's who of Irish theatre and literature who turned up at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, including Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney.

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