Tributes paid to Irish broadcasting legend Marian Finucane

by Padraig Conlon

Tributes have been paid to Irish broadcasting legend Marian Finucane following her sudden death at her home in Naas aged 69.

Born in Dublin in 1950, she studied architecture in the College of Technology in Bolton Street, but left to join RTÉ as a continuity announcer in 1974.

She went on to become a major figure in Irish broadcasting, covering the countries events and social changes for almost half a centenary.

As a big advocate for women’s rights, she presented a radio programme called ‘Women Today’ in 1979 for which she won a Jacobs Award.

In 1980 she won the Prix Italia for a documentary on abortion which featured an interview with a woman who was about to have an abortion.

Marian Finucane travelled with her to England, stayed with her in the hospital and talked to her afterwards.

In 1985, she became the first presenter of ‘Liveline’, which she continued to present until 1999.

Following Gay Byrne’s retirement in 1999, she took over his early morning radio slot to present The Marian Finucane Show.

Joe Duffy, took over her Liveline programme.

President Michael D Higgins lead the tributes.

“It is with the greatest sadness that I have learned of the passing of broadcaster Marian Finucane,” he said in a statement.

“With her death, 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.

“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.”

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes has also paid tribute to Marian Finucane.

“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,” she said.

“From ‘Women Today’ to ‘Liveline’ to her weekday radio show on Radio 1 and, latterly, her enormously popular Saturday and Sunday radio programme, she tackled the big social issues of the day with command and insight.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan said:

“I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Marian Finucane.

“We have lost another of our most cherished broadcasters.

“Marian was a strong, inspirational and always thought-provoking journalist. Suaimhneas síoraí dá hanam uasal.”

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