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Broadcaster Marian Finucane has died at the age of 69

The veteran broadcaster has worked at RTÉ since 1976.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

VETERAN BROADCASTER MARIAN Finucane has died at the age of 69.

Born in 1950, the presenter of The Marian Finucane Show started at RTÉ as a continuity announcer in the 1970s.

A qualified architect, she became a programme presenter working on programmes concerned with contemporary social issues, especially those concerning women, notably on the programme Women Today.

Her television work also included Consumer Choice and Crime Line.

She was the first presenter of Liveline and has won a number of awards for her work.

Joe Duffy, who took over from Finucane as presenter of Liveline, today described her as “the most welcoming voice”.

He said everyone who went on Liveline when she was presenter and on her recent show “knew you would get a fair hearing”.

“A lot of people will be in deep shock, this time of year – no time is a good time but we just lost Gay [Byrne] on 4 November. We lost Marian on 2 January, less than two months later. She was deeply upset with Gay’s passing,” he said.

I think she’s just the voice of reason, the lovely, soothing, charming, welcoming voice that made such a difference on the national airwaves.

On Gay Byrne’s retirement in 1999, Finucane took over his early morning radio slot to present The Marian Finucane Show, ultimately taking over the morning slots on Saturday and Sunday.

In 2015 Finucane married her long-term partner John Clarke, with whom she had two children. Their daughter Sinead died in 1990 at the age of eight after suffering from leukaemia.  

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes said her colleagues learned of her sudden passing with “profound shock and sadness”.

“Marian was a broadcaster of immense capability; a household name, she was first and foremost a tenacious journalist with a zeal for breaking new ground. From Women Today to Liveline to her weekday radio show on Radio 1 and, latterly, her enormously popular Saturday and Sunday radio programme, she tackled the big social issues of the day with command and insight,” she said.

“Multi-skilled, she forged a distinguished career on television, as well as undertaking significant charity work in Africa. Ireland has lost a unique voice. RTÉ has lost a beloved colleague. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to her husband John and son Jack.”

President Michael D Higgins also paid tribute to the broadcaster.

“With her death, Ireland has lost a deeply respected, trusted and much loved broadcaster,” he said.

“A superb professional, many will remember the wisdom and sensitivity with which Marian Finucane dealt with discussions and confrontations between different voices on what were controversial issues of the day. She was one of the very early exemplars to those who sought a proper representation of women in broadcasting.”

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