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'We need more XX chromosomes around Newstalk, so obviously that's the only reason I'm here'

Colette Fitzpatrick was quick to reply when Newstalk co-host Shane Coleman asked her how she managed to “juggle it all”.

Shane Coleman and Colette Fitzpatrick
Shane Coleman and Colette Fitzpatrick
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 3.25pm

NEWSTALK’S SECOND DAY of its new lineup saw a bit of an awkward moment between Shane Coleman and new Newstalk Breakfast co-host Colette Fitzpatrick – but they assured us that it was all tongue-in-cheek.

Coleman, Newstalk’s longtime political editor, opened the show with Fitzpatrick by saying: “Just one question I do want to ask you – how do you juggle it all?”

It’s a question that’s often brought up with working mothers, and it’s not always a welcome one, given that it’s rarely – if ever – asked of their male counterparts.

So Fitzpatrick, who is also a TV3 news anchor, replied:”It’s one of those questions, isn’t it Shane, that’s asked only of female broadcasters. You have one more child than I do. How do you juggle it all?”

“I was obviously joking when I asked the question,” came Coleman’s reply, while Fitzpatrick retorted:

We need more XX chromosomes around Newstalk, so obviously that’s the only reason I’m here.

Coleman joked that “Paul Williams, don’t worry, will be back on Thursday.” The pair then quickly moved on to the papers.

90423480 The Newstalk Breakfast team, featuring Shane Coleman, Colette Fitzpatrick, Paul Williams and Alan Quinlan Source: Leah Farrel/RollingNews.ie

Lack of diversity

Currently there are only two female hosts out of 10 on Newstalk’s weekly schedule: Fitzpatrick, and Sarah McInerney, who was previously at The Sunday Times. This doesn’t include the Off the Ball team which features five official hosts and six guest hosts, all male. Previously there was no female show host during the week.

The weekend schedule features a larger proportion of women, with five out of 12 weekend-specific shows hosted by women.

A joint study by the National Women’s Council of Ireland and Dublin City University last year found that 82% of Newstalk’s airtime was taken up by men, compared to 18% for women.

This lack of diversity was highlighted when Newstalk released a ‘Guess-Who?’ boardgame of its new lineup.

Update: Newstalk got in touch after the publication of this article to say that the conversation had been staged.

Read: Chris Donoghue is moving to George Hook’s slot on Newstalk

Read: These are the Irish radio shows most dominated by men

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About the author:

Elizabeth O'Malley

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