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Funeral mass of Marian Finucane to be held in Co Kildare on Tuesday

A special edition of Marian Finucane’s programme was held today, where her friends remembered the veteran broadcaster.

Marian Finucane in September 1999.
Marian Finucane in September 1999.
Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Jan 4th 2020, 3:00 PM

THE FUNERAL OF veteran broadcaster Marian Finucane will be held this Tuesday 7 January in Co Kildare. 

The funeral procession will arrive at St Brigid’s Church, Kill, for a funeral Mass at 12 noon, followed by private burial. People are being requested not to send flowers.

RTÉ will be covering the funeral on its NewsNow service. 

Marian Finucane died on Thursday aged 69, and is survived by her husband John, and her son Jack.

She had worked at RTÉ for over four decades, and is best known as the first presenter of Liveline, for her work on Women Today and The Women’s Programme, and for RTÉ’s flagship weekend programme The Marian Finucane Show. 

This morning, a number of Marian Finucane’s friends and former colleagues recounted the best moments of her career, sharing personal anecdotes of her professionalism and personality on the Saturday slot on RTÉ where she would have presented her programme.

Morning Ireland presenter Rachel English presented in her stead, without the sig music at the start. Among those who spoke on the programme were Marian’s former Women Today colleague Patrick Farrelly, Irish Times journalist Kathy Sheridan, and Marian’s friends James Morrissey and Luke Dodd.

Remembering Marian

Farrelly said that one year, he and Marian were interviewing bank robbers at the back of a pub on Sean McDermott Street.

After the interview, she turned to Farrelly and said: “Did you know that? I didn’t know that.”

He said of Marian: “She loved the act of discovery, she never lost that thrill of discovery. She had a great sense of adventure, and no respect for hierarchy, although she understood what it was.”

Among the most notable interviews she conducted during her time on RTÉ, was her interview with Nuala O’Faolain, Anglo-Irish Bank’s chairman Seán FitzPatrick, and Pauline Tully, the wife of Pearse McAuley who was convicted of seriously assaulting Tully on Christmas Eve in 2014.

‘Nuanced’

Irish Times journalist Kathy Sheridan spoke about interviewing Marian, and recounted a documentary Marian had made in 1979 when she accompanied a woman who was travelling to England to have an abortion.

“You would never know what side of the argument she was on,” Sheridan said, adding that Marian had told her that at the time of the documentary she had been anti-abortion.

She said that she had thought of it “in terms of what would I do”, but that the X Case had brought her “a step beyond that”.

She remained quite nuanced which is a word I would always associate with Marian. She shifted her position on something that was very seismic. 

English rubbished claims that Marian ‘only worked two days a week’, and said that she was always in RTÉ listening and reading: “This woman worked and worked and worked.”

She said that because Marian understood various issues so well, that all she would have to do is “just ask a simple little question, and that would get it out”. 

‘Ireland’s matriarch’ 

James Morrissey, a friend of Marian’s who had worked at the Sunday Business Post when they met, said that the purpose of Marian’s questioning “wasn’t to make them squirm or make them uncomfortable – the purpose was to get answers”.

Luke Dodds, another friend of Marian’s who met her through Nuala O’Faoláin said that the two “were like sisters”, and “were inseparable”.

“Marian had decided that she would send Jack to boarding school, and Nuala said ‘I can’t believe she’s doing this’.

Marian and O’Faolain had been to the same boarding school, leading to this exchange:

Nuala: We were wrong, the nuns were wonderful.
Marian: Our first revisionist.

Listeners texted in to pay their respects to her career too, sharing messages like “We all have characters like that in our family”, “To me, Marian was like the matriarch of Ireland,” and “I would shout at the radio when I thought Marian was missing the point, but listen in every week repeating her greeting”.

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