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'The world is a sadder place': Tributes paid to RTÉ broadcaster Keelin Shanley

Keelin Shanley has died at the age of 51.

Image: RTÉ

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to RTÉ journalist and broadcaster Keelin Shanley who has died at the age of 51. 

RTÉ announced Keelin’s untimely death this afternoon. Journalists, broadcasters, politicians, listeners and viewers have all paid their respects this evening. 

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes by saying the nation will have been “greatly saddened” by her passing.

“People all over Ireland will have been greatly saddened by the news of the death of Keelin Shanley, broadcaster and award-winning journalist.

“Driven by a strong commitment to social justice, she brought great professionalism and dedication to her work as a journalist,” said Higgins. 

“Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to her husband Conor, their children Lucy and Ben, her wider family and her wide circle of friends.”

Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs Jon Williams paid tribute to Keelin saying she was “the best of us- and we are heartbroken”. 

Always inquisitive, interested, thoughtful and kind. The fact that she presented our flagship Six One News while dealing with cancer is inspirational in itself and so typical of Keelin’s determination to live life to the full. Our hearts go out to Conor, Lucy and Ben and her wider family. We are all poorer for her loss.

PastedImage-95601 Source: Jon Williams/Twitter

Shortly after the announcement, fellow RTÉ broadcaster Audrey Carville said it was “the worst possible news”. 

“She was so smart and funny and brilliant at everything she did. We will miss you so much Keelin. Deepest sympathies to the family you adored. Rest In Peace,” Carville tweeted. 

“The saddest of news. Keelin was a wonderful journalist but she was also a fantastic, generous, funny colleague. She’ll be missed so much. Sympathies to her family and friends,” tweeted Morning Ireland presenter Racheal English. 

PastedImage-82503 Source: Sean Moncrieff/Twitter

Presenter of RTÉ’s Late Debate Katie Hannon said it “was a privilege to know” Keelin. 

Keelin Shanley was hugely talented and had an extraordinary work ethic. She was also the best kind of friend – kind and generous and supportive and courageous. And just so smart and self-deprecating and funny.

PastedImage-47297 Source: Fran McNulty/Twitter

Fellow Six One anchor Sharon Tobin said Keelin will “continue to show us all how it should be done”.

“Keelin Shanley was one of a kind, for her warmth, curiosity, and genuine interest in everyone she encountered. Her love for her family and her commitment to journalism, for all the right reasons, was a joy to behold.”

PastedImage-76213 Source: Ingrid Miley/Twitter

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted: “incredibly sad news about Keelin Shanley”.

“As well as being a very talented journalist, she was a really lovely person. Always warm, engaging and courteous. A huge loss. Our thoughts are with Keelin’s family and friends, and all of her colleagues in RTE,” he said. 

PastedImage-90267 Source: Twitter

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin said he “very saddened” to learn of Keelin and extended his deepest sympathies to her family and friends. 

“Keelin was always very warm and engaging in person and was an incisive and professional journalist.

“Keelin was an extremely skilled broadcaster, flawlessly moving from programmes like Crimecall and Morning Edition to co-presenting RTE’s flagship Six One news; her warmth and compassion always to the fore,” Martin said in a statement. 

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he was “so sad to hear” of Keelin’s passing. 

“She was such a talented, honest media star, but more importantly a really decent person, liked & respected by everyone. RTÉ will be much the poorer without her. My condolences to her family and friends. RIP,” tweeted Coveney. 

Tweet by @Maureen Catterson Source: Maureen Catterson/Twitter

Tweet by @Dara Ó Briain Source: Dara Ó Briain/Twitter

Tweet by @Alison O'Connor Source: Alison O'Connor/Twitter

Tweet by @Sinead O'Carroll Source: Sinead O'Carroll/Twitter

Tweet by @Richard Chambers Source: Richard Chambers/Twitter

Tweet by @Orla Tinsley Source: Orla Tinsley/Twitter

Tweet by @Pearse Doherty Source: Pearse Doherty/Twitter

Tweet by @Lise Hand Source: Lise Hand/Twitter

Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, which Shanley was an ambassador for, said it was “deeply saddened” to hear of her death. 

“Keelin has been a wonderful ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland since 2014 and was committed to the cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) and to improving the lives of people with CF in Ireland. A friendly, generous and down-to-earth individual, she was always willing to lend a hand. Her loss will be felt deeply,” a statement read.

Keelin grew up in Monkstown, Co Dublin. After graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in biochemistry, Keelin worked as a researcher in the Department of Pharmacology in the University of Bologna.

Keelin then returned to Ireland and started working with RTÉ, presenting a number of science and technology programmes in the late 1990s.

On top of her career with RTÉ, she worked with CNN World Report and Radio France International.  

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

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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Adam Daly

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