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Liam Neeson's telethon is axed after Unicef sacking

A telethon in the Republic to be fronted by Liam Neeson has been cancelled after the sacking of a Unicef executive director.

The show, due to air in October, was expected to raise substantial donations for the charity.

TV3 was negotiating a two-hour broadcast fronted by actor Neeson - a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador - and featuring many of his celebrity friends.

However, Ben Frow, TV3's director of programming, said yesterday the telethon would not happen because Melanie Verwoerd had left Unicef.

The 43-year-old's contract with Unicef had been terminated over her association with the late RTE broadcaster Gerry Ryan.

The former South African Ambassador to Ireland became Mr Ryan's partner after she divorced and he parted from his wife.

"Melanie had put a considerable amount of work into this and I have no plans to revisit this without her," Mr Frow said

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Unicef also declined to comment on whether Neeson's planned trip to Mozambique will go ahead on Sunday, which had been organised by Ms Verwoerd.

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