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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

Audio: 'There's something about Bill O'Herlihy' - Taoiseach hails 'Billo'

Listen to the full tribute Taoiseach Enda Kenny paid to legendary RTÉ sports presenter Bill O’Herlihy at the launch of his book in Dublin last night.

Kenny meets O'Herlihy upon his arrival at the book launch last night.
Kenny meets O'Herlihy upon his arrival at the book launch last night.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY was among those to pay tribute to the legendary RTÉ sports presenter Bill O’Herlihy at the launch of the broadcaster’s book in Dublin last night.

As well as the Taoiseach, O’Herlihy was joined by soccer panellists Eamon Dunphy and John Giles along with a number of government ministers, including Chief Whip Paul Kehoe and Communication Minister Pat Rabbitte, at the launch of his new book We’ll Leave It There So, written with sports writer Ewan MacKenna.

Kenny gave a lengthy speech paying tribute to O’Herlihy who has fronted RTÉ’s soccer and Olympics coverage since the early 1970s and who was joined last night at the launch by family, friends and colleagues past and present from the State broadcaster.

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

Of O’Herlihy, the Taoiseach said: “I agree with Dunphy on one or two occasions because he did say that after 30 years he [O'Herlihy] still displays the same professionalism, the same level of dedication and preparation for the job that he does and it shows.”

He paid tribute to O’Herlihy’s talents and his work in current affairs prior to becoming a sports broadcaster, noting that the Cork man had interviewed former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and the fiery unionist leader Ian Paisley.

Listen to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s full tribute to Bill O’Herlihy:

Kenny said that he considered O’Herlihy – a Fine Gael supporter and former party strategist – to be a “a friend, a mentor and a person you can be absolutely proud of”.

Dunphy, who has worked with O’Herlihy for over 30 years, paid tribute to his “journalistic, enquiring mind” and the dedication to the job.

“We could not do it without Bill O’Herlihy,” he said.

From left to right: John Giles, Bill O’Herlihy, Eamon Dunphy and Enda Kenny at last night’s book launch in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin (Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

Giles joked that was a “newcomer to the show” given he had started 26 years ago in comparison to the 34 years that Dunphy and O’Herlihy have worked together.

While in his own speech, O’Herlihy himself paid tribute to the “three women in my life” his wife Hillary and his  daughters Jill and Sally who were at last night’s book launch along with other friends and family.

“I am the luckiest man in the world, the Lord has been really good to me,” he added.

The Bill O’Herlihy Autobiography: We’ll Leave It There So, with Ewan MacKenna is available now from Paperweight Publications.

Stay tuned to for more from an interview with Bill O’Herlihy later this week.

Read: 12 classic TV moments that make Ireland… unique

Heated: 6 more combustible TV panel debates

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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