Summer Bay stalwart Irene Roberts may be saying goodbye to the place that’s been her home for 26 years as she decides she needs some space.
Things have been getting on top of Reenie as she is at loggerheads with best friend and business partner, Leah Patterson, and when it seems their friendship is irreparable, Irene makes a major decision about her future.
The clash between the former friends all started over baby Luc. Irene is the child’s biological grandmother after her long-lost son Mick raped Billie Ashford and left her pregnant.
But Leah’s son VJ was married to Billie and agreed to bring the baby up as his own, so Leah feels she is also the baby’s grandma. Both of them think they know what’s best and they’re arguing a lot.
And now Irene is wanting to go for full custody of Luc herself.
Things came to a massive head a few weeks ago when Leah snapped and slapped Irene across the face.
Meanwhile, Leah is having marriage problems with husband Zac MacGuire, who cheated on her. Despite the fact Leah and Zac end up spending the night together, Leah knows she still can’t forgive his infidelity.
With Leah and Irene on slightly better terms now, Irene offers a supportive ear to Leah, who is happy to have her friend back in her corner.
But when Leah later overs Irene discussing Leah’s marital problems with Roo, she listens in at the wrong moment and gets the wrong end of the stick – meaning their feud is well and truly back on.
As Irene follows Leah to try and explain, Leah stops her in her tracks by saying she’s sick of fighting so is selling her share of the Diner in order to cut all ties with Irene once and for all.
Her decision leaves Irene devastated and after speaking to Nate, who advises her to step away from the situation for a while, she realises she has no choice but to leave Summer Bay.
Despite Leah pressuring her to discuss the sale, Irene insists she needs some space and hands Leah a letter, explaining just how important their friendship is to her, before leaving.
When talking to Australia’s TV Week about the exit, Lynne McGranger, who plays Irene explained: “Irene needs to get away. Summer Bay isn’t holding anything for her anymore, so there’s a chance she may never come back.”
Surely she wouldn’t walk away from her life for good? Will she really leave and never come back without saying a proper goodbye to everyone?
The Bay without Irene is like Walford without Ian Beale or Weatherfield without Ken Barlow – just not right.