Mrs Brown’s Boys’ Dermot O’Neill ‘over the moon’ after getting cancer all-clear as ‘Grandad’ feared worse after relapse

MRS Brown’s Boys star Dermot O’Neill has revealed that he has been given the all-clear from cancer.

The 67-year-old, known to millions from his role as Grandad on Brendan O’Carroll’s hit show, feared he had suffered a relapse in the past month.

Brave Dermot is now on the mend after battle and ready for action. Credit: Garrett White - The Sun

His neck had ballooned and he had to pull out of recording a new series of All Round To Mrs Brown with his pal Brendan.

The Covid-19 crisis in the HSE resulted in a delay in getting a scan, but the actor praised doctors who finally saw him last week and later told him he was free of the disease.

Dermot told the Irish Sun: “I’m over the moon, It’s such a load off my mind.

“I had been living a nightmare with a swollen neck and this thing flashing through my mind, ‘Is that the cancer back?’  Now I can go back and live my life.”

Dermot had hoped he was on the way to beating life-threatening cancer just after Christmas when he finished a series of chemo and radiotherapy sessions.

Dermot with his devoted wife Patricia, aka ChickieCredit: Garrett White - The Sun


But the Irish Sun can reveal he suffered a setback in January which saw him hospitalised again and on a drip as he lost two and a half stone.

His devoted wife Patricia, aka Chickie, who has been looking after him at home, told us: “It was scary. When Dermot coughed, it was like a death rattle.

“You could hear him gurgle. His neck got absolutely huge and we didn’t know whether the swelling was part of the radiation treatment still going through his body, or something else, we just didn’t know.”

The relapse forced the comedy actor to pull out of an appearance in the Mrs Brown spin-off show, which is being filmed in ­Glasgow.

Chickie said: “Dermot got sicker and sicker. They took him back into hospital twice and put him on a drip. He just got so weak.

“He was due to go over to film in Glasgow with Brendan, but I said, ‘No way, you’re not going over’.”

However, things were to turn in February when the Dubliner requested a change in the medication he was taking.

Dermot said: “I was on about five different pills but I’m down to two now and that seems to be working.”

Dermot stars as Grandad in Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs Brown's BoysCredit: BBC


His health had been steadily improving until two weeks ago when Chickie noticed a swelling around Dermot’s neck.

She told us: “His neck has just ballooned with fluid. Like he swallowed a bum bag and it was around his neck.”

The couple had been hoping to find out if Dermot’s cancer treatment had been successful last month.

Dermot said: “Did it work, did it not work? I so wanted to know. Then I got the call to tell me to stay at home, this was about four days before the lockdown.

“Then lockdown happened and my scan got postponed. All credit to the doctors, they managed to get me in at the end of last week and we got this great news.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Mrs Brown but I’m going to have to be very careful meeting fans with my immune system so affected.”

Dermot and Chickie had been planning to celebrate their wedding anniversary with a trip to New York, but that was axed due to his ­fluctuating condition. Chickie explained: “He’s up and down.

“He can be ­moving around one day, and the next he has difficulty getting out of bed. On the plus side, he does a great job cleaning the house when he’s on form.”


The loved-up couple first met at a Brendan O’Carroll gig in The Towers pub in Ballymun, north Dublin, when introduced by then PR man Rory Cowan.

Chickie, who is 14 years younger than actor Dermot, had asked Rory who was the “grumpy guy reading the newspaper”.

However, she ended the night chatting to the man she learned was Brendan’s roadie. Brendan’s manager Gerry Browne later invited Chickie ‘out on a date’ with Dermot at the Barge pub in central Dublin where Brendan was playing.

Chickie recounted: “When I got there Dermot was doing the door and he asked me for three pounds to come in. He f***ing charged me to go on a blind date with him.”

But the pair later sealed the deal with a kiss in the back of O’Carroll’s van when he stopped for petrol at a garage on the way home.

Chickie said: “Take My Breath Away came on the radio just then. So we had it as our ­wedding song.”


Both previously married with children, Dermot and Chickie waited 20 years before getting hitched in 2012.

Chickie added: “We didn’t live together, Dermot was away touring ten months of the year with Mrs Brown.

“Then one day he sent me a text maybe after an argument saying: ‘Do you want to be Mrs O’Neill?’”

And Chickie revealed that being the wife of a Mrs Brown star has its ­challenges.

She said: “Ninety-nine per cent of people are so nice. Kids coming up asking for pictures and selfies.

“But what I hate most are the drunk women who plonk themselves down on his knee, like they own him. Dermot has to literally point at me and say, ‘Have you met my wife.”

That will not be happening any more due to Dermot’s condition.

He said: “Because my immune system is the way it is, I can’t afford to go out so I am ­getting a bit stir crazy at home. I don’t miss the pub so much because I’m a Guinness drinker, and the chemo means my taste buds are gone.

“The last time I had a drank of Guinness, I couldn’t taste it. In fact it tasted terrible . . . just terrible.”


Stuck home for the foreseeable future, the star admits he has no idea if he will be able to go back on the road with Mrs Brown in June, or whether the arena tour will take place at all.

Dermot said: “I’ve had no confirmation the tour isn’t going ahead. It’s just a feeling like everything else, it’s all up in the air.”

Nicknamed Bugsy, Dermot is the oldest member of the Mrs Brown cast. Recalling his start on the worldwide hit, he said: “The first Mrs Brown’s show we did was in the Everyman Palace in Cork.

“About half an hour before the curtain was due to go up I was on stage banging a nail into the set. Brendan came up and handed me some lines on the back of a cigarette packet.

He said, ‘You’re playing Granddad.’ That was it, no rehearsals, no training.

“I was in Mrs Brown’s Boys.”

That then became his life until his world came apart last July when he discovered a lump in his throat while he was performing Mrs Brown D’Musical in London.

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