Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Savile: BBC's Anne Robinson 'fought off groping Irish Prime Minister' in Sixties

Anne Robinson met Haughey during the 1969
Sir Jimmy Savile will be buried in the North Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough
Allegations: Jimmy Savile

Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson has alleged she was groped by a former Republic of Ireland prime minister.

The UK's highest paid female television presenter told the Guardian newspaper that former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey tried to grope her in 1969.

She made the claims during a discussion on the issue of sexual harassment in the TV industry on the back of the Jimmy Saville revelations.

Ms Robinson met Haughey during the 1969 general election in the Republic of Ireland which she covered for the Daily Mail newspaper.

She said: “When I got my first job in the Daily Mail the term ‘sexual harassment’ didn’t exist.

“Looking back, we used to keep lists of men who weren’t safe in taxis, NST, and those who were NSL, not safe in lifts, they were a bit quicker with their hands than NSTs.

“I think my best experience was with Charlie Haughey, who was then Ireland’s Finance Minister.

“I like to imagine he went to his grave with my bruises on his hands after he tried to grope me during the 1969 Irish elections.”

A senior member of staff at the BBC has revealed he questioned Jimmy Savile over rumours about his private life more than 20 years ago.

As police revealed the DJ and television presenter's alleged catalogue of child sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included around 60 victims, Derek Chinnery, BBC Radio 1 controller from 1978 to 1985, said he quizzed the presenter directly about the rumours.

The scandal has mushroomed since ITV screened a documentary in which five women alleged they were abused by Savile, with Scotland Yard saying there are allegations spanning 1959 to 2006.

Mr Chinnery, who was Savile's boss at Radio 1, told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House: "I asked, 'what's all this, these rumours we hear about you, Jimmy?'.

"And he said, 'that's all nonsense'. There was no reason to disbelieve (Savile)."

Savile worked at Radio 1 from 1969 to 1989 presenting a show of chart songs from previous decades.

Speaking about his acceptance of Savile's denial, Mr Chinnery told the BBC: "It's easy now to say, 'how could you just believe him just like that?'."

He added: "He was the sort of man that attracted rumours, after all, because he was single, he was always on the move, he was always going around the country."



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