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'There is a cloud over us today': Tributes to Keelin Shanley from heartbroken RTÉ colleagues

The presenter would have been in the thick of general election coverage, her colleagues said.
Feb 9th 2020, 1:45 PM 50,225 2

RTÉ STAFF HAVE been paying tribute to their colleague Keelin Shanley in the wake of her passing.

The 51-year-old died following an illness, and her death was announced by the broadcaster yesterday.

The longtime journalist’s desk in RTÉ has been turned into a shrine as work on the general election continues:

Colleagues have also been paying tribute to her on the airwaves, with Rachael English and Sean O’Rourke speaking about their sadness over her death on the Today With Sean O’Rourke show.

“If Keelin was still with us she’d be here today and she’d be in the thick of [general election reporting] and she’d be loving every last minute of it,” said English, who described Keelin as intelligent, honest, and a “wonderful, warm, funny colleague”.

She said that she was “just a joy to work with” and that “not only was she great at her job – she could be a real divil as well”.

O’Rourke offered his own tribute, saying that Keelin Shanley “was as sweet as she was sharp”.

In particular, he described working with her more than 25 years ago in Galway on a series of arts programmes. “She was the researcher and I remember finishing the week thinking the wrong person presented the programme,” he said. “She was always wonderful to work with.”

He said that Keelin “had a really strong social conscience”.

“We miss her and we will miss her and will continue to miss her so much,” said O’Rourke, sending his and his team’s condolences to the late presenter’s family.

“[It's] the thing that overshadows… the show goes on obviously here on election day but it certainly is something. There is a cloud over us today,” he concluded.

A book of condolences has been opened to Keelin Shanley in RTÉ. One of those who signed the book was presenter Claire Byrne, who said that she will miss “our 7pm chats in the wardrobe department”, and thanked her colleague for her kindness.

Keelin grew up in Monkstown, Co Dublin and studied Science in Trinity College, moving to Italy to continue her research. However, she later moved into journalism. 

She is mourned by her husband Conor Ferguson and son and daughter, Ben and Lucy. 

Tributes have been pouring in for Keelin online since the news of her death broke:

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Aoife Barry

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