Belfast Telegraph

Tributes as 'legend' of RTE radio Marian Finucane dies suddenly at 69

Award-winning broadcaster Marian Finucane in the studio
Award-winning broadcaster Marian Finucane in the studio
With husband John Clarke
During her early years at RTE
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has led tributes to RTE broadcaster Marian Finucane, saying that Ireland will miss the voice of a "true broadcasting legend".

The radio presenter's death was announced yesterday by the Irish state broadcaster, where she had worked since the 1970s.

She was found at her home in Naas, Co Kildare, on Thursday afternoon. She was 69.

Mr Varadkar said he was "stunned and deeply saddened" by the news.

"She was a true broadcasting legend who reshaped current affairs radio," he added.

"Ireland will miss her voice. Weekend mornings will never be quite the same again."

Ms Finucane started her career with RTE in the 1970s after having originally qualified as an architect.

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She became a household name through her Liveline programme on RTE radio.

Most recently she presented the early morning radio slot, The Marian Finucane Show.

Tributes were also paid by Northern Ireland broadcasters.

Newsline presenter Donna Traynor said she was greatly saddened by the death of "a wonderful broadcaster".

"She inspired me and so many other journalists. I will never forget the impact of her radio documentary on abortion as she travelled with a young woman to England in the 1980s," she added.

Broadcaster and journalist Eamonn Mallie said he had guested many times on her show.

"She always graciously afforded me plenty of time to express myself," he said. Irish President Michael D Higgins described Ms Finucane as a "deeply trusted broadcaster".

Irish Culture Minister Josepha Madigan said: "We have lost another of our most cherished broadcasters. Marian was a strong, inspirational and always thought-provoking journalist."

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said: "She was an iconic broadcaster, ahead of her time on so many issues."

Presenter Laura Whitmore said: "RIP Marian Finucane - you paved the way for so many women in journalism and broadcast."

Joe Duffy, who now presents the Liveline programme, which Ms Finucane fronted for 14 years, said: "She was the voice of reason on the national airwaves for 40 years. Fair, welcoming, reassuring, trusting and trusted, charming yet inquisitive - she was a unique broadcaster."

RTE director general Dee Forbes said staff at the Irish state broadcaster learned of Ms Finucane's passing with "profound shock and sadness".

"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.

"Ireland has lost a unique voice. RTE has lost a beloved colleague."

RTE chairman Moya Doherty also described the presenter as "a pioneer in women's broadcasting".

"RTE has lost another great champion and another great talent, but we are the richer for having known and heard her work," she added.

Ms Finucane is survived by her husband John and son Jack.

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