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Sarah McTernan

This Co Clare singer will represent Ireland in the Eurovision in Israel

Sarah McTernan came third in The Voice of Ireland in 2015.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 8th 2019, 10:20 AM


SARAH MCTERNAN WILL represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Israel in May, RTÉ has revealed. 

McTernan, who came third in The Voice of Ireland 2015, will perform the song ’22′  in the second Eurovision semi-final in Tel Aviv on Thursday 16 May.

The song was penned by Janieck, Marcia “Misha” Sondeijker and Roulsen,

She previously competed to represent San Marino at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon with a song called Eye of the Storm, however, she failed to qualify. 

‘Full steam ahead’

The 24-year-old  from Scariff, Co Clare told RTÉ that representing Ireland in the contest is like “an early birthday present”. 

“My 25th birthday is next Monday and if you’d told me last year that I’d be chosen to represent my country at Eurovision, performing the song for the first time on Dancing with the Stars this Sunday, and then flying to Tel Aviv on my birthday to record a postcard, I would have told you – you were crazy,” she said.

McTernan has a 2.5-year-old daughter, Mia, who she says is her biggest fan. 

“My Mom, Nana, family and friends are super excited for me – they’re shocked and very proud. I can’t wait to teach my biggest fan – my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Mia – all the lyrics to 22,” she said. 

Over 430 songs were submitted to RTÉ for consideration with Irish Head of Delegation Michael Kealy accrediting the volume of entries to Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s “great” performance in Lisbon last year.

Sarah has an amazing voice which stood out the minute I heard it and she fits perfectly with our chosen song ’22′. I think the Eurovision audience will love her, now it’s full steam ahead preparing for her performance in Tel Aviv in May.

Politically tense

Israeli singer Netta was crowned winner at last year’s contest. Her win immediately sparked controversy over 2019′s competition, the first time in 20 years that Israel will play host. 

Israel previously hosted the Eurovision in 1979 and 1999. The country won the competition in 1978 with Ireland’s Colm Wilkinson placing fifth with ‘Born to Sing’.

In 1998, Israel came first again in the Eurovision when Dana International won with ‘Diva’ while Ireland’s entry ‘Is Always Over Now?’ performed by Dawn Martin came ninth. 

Two years after Eurovision 1999, the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) was established to raise awareness about the Occupied Territories and Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show diplomacy was required as RTÉ management responded to calls from both sides of the political divide between June and December last year – before and after Ireland confirmed its participation in this year’s competition. 

The Eurovision final takes place on Saturday 18 May. 

- With reporting from Cónal Thomas 

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