IRELAND – Graham Norton dropped a bombshell at the weekend by claiming that the cash-strapped station might pull out of the song contest next year. The Co Cork native made the shock announcement when he hosted Eurovision’s Shine A Light programme for the BBC in place of the cancelled song contest.
Claiming that this year’s Irish entry, Lesley Roy, could have won, chat show host Graham admitted: “I hear Ireland is still discussing if they are going to take part next year. We hope they do.”
RTE cited a lack of money for not sending an entry to Munich in 1983 with the hard up station running a BBC feed from Eurovision with Terry Wogan.
Responding to Norton’s comments, RTE would not confirm Ireland’s participation in the 2021 contest but told the Irish Sun: “We haven’t been invited by the EBU to participate in next year’s contest yet, but this normally happens in the autumn. We will have more information for you then.”
Martin — who won the song contest in 1992 with Why Me? — believes Ireland should compete at all costs. Linda told the Irish Sun: “It would be an absolute disaster if Ireland didn’t compete.
“I haven’t heard the rumours but I’d hate to think with Ireland’s record in Eurovision we wouldn’t be there next year. Ireland has to be seen to among the top players. If we pull out of Eurovision, we should pull out of major sporting events, we should pull out of the arts as well.”
The star, who built a career across Europe after her Eurovision win, said Ireland’s participation each year created “opportunities and jobs”.
Linda explained: “The songwriting, the producers, the backing singers. The Irish delegation has all those elements involved. It’s like the run-up to the World Cup — we have to be there, taking part in Eurovision.”
Since entering in 1965, Ireland has won the Eurovision a record seven times — with Dana winning in 1970, followed by Johnny Logan in 1980 and again in 1987.