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'Ireland has lost a deeply respected, trusted and much loved broadcaster'

Friday, 3rd January, 2020 10:22am

A light has gone out in Irish broadcasting as people continue to pay tribute to Marian Finucane after her sudden death at the age of 69. 

The woman who was well known for her ‘Hello there and a very good morning to you’ line and her iconic voice died at her home yesterday and tributes have since poured in from people from many walks of life.

After learning of her death, the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said: “Ireland has lost a deeply respected, trusted and much loved broadcaster. A superb professional, many will remember the wisdom and sensitivity with which Marian Finucane dealt with discussions and confrontations between different voices on what were controversial issues of the day. She was one of the very early exemplars to those who sought a proper representation of women in broadcasting.”

Marian is survived by her husband John and son Jack. 

The President added: “There will be many, in every part of Irish life, who will miss Marian’s voice, but of course her loss is felt most acutely by her family and friends. To her husband John, her son Jack and to all the members of her extended family and wide circle of friends and colleagues Sabina and I express our deepest sympathies.”

Born in 1950, Marian Finucane first worked with RTÉ in the 1970s. A qualified architect, she became a programme presenter working on programmes concerned with contemporary social issues, especially those concerning women, notably on ‘Women Today’.

She became a household name with her ‘Liveline’ programme on RTÉ Radio 1. A winner of the Prix Italia, her television work included ‘Consumer Choice' and 'Crime Line’.

On Gay Byrne’s retirement in 1999, she took over his early morning radio slot to present ‘The Marian Finucane Show’, ultimately taking over the morning slots on Saturday and Sunday.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described her as “true broadcasting legend” who reshaped current affairs radio. “Weekend mornings will never be quite the same again,” he added.

Fianna Fáil party leader, Micheál Martin said that she could hold politicians from all parties and none to account on her hugely popular weekend shows, which was to the fore on social and current affairs issues. “Marian was a rare talent and her voice will be missed in homes up and down the country,” he said. 

Laura Whitmore said on her social media pages: “You paved the way for women in journalism and broadcast. I was so honoured to have been interviewed by you on your radio show and you’ll always be a role model.” 

Comedian Dara Ó Briain tweeted: “Ah, that’s very sad about the death of Marian Finucane. A lovely woman and a brilliant broadcaster, it was always a pleasure to do an interview with her; just the easy intelligence of her. She will be missed.”

Dee Forbes, Director General, RTÉ, has said: “Marian was a broadcaster of immense capability; a household name, she was first and foremost a tenacious journalist with a zeal for breaking new ground. 

“Multi-skilled, she forged a distinguished career on television, as well as undertaking significant charity work in Africa. Ireland has lost a unique voice. RTÉ has lost a beloved colleague. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to her husband John and son Jack."

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