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Shay Healy in 1997 Joey Cleary/Photocall Ireland

Eurovision-winning songwriter and RTÉ broadcaster Shay Healy dies aged 78

His death was announced by RTÉ this morning.


The 78-year-old’s death was announced by RTÉ, with whom he was also a presenter, this morning. 

Healy wrote What’s Another Year, sung by Johnny Logan, which was the winning entry at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980.

Originally from Sandymount in Dublin, he started his career as a trainee cameraman in RTÉ before going on to become a presenter with the broadcaster.

In 1992, an interview with former Minister for Justice Sean Doherty about phone-tapping on his late-night talk show Nighthawks eventually led to the resignation of Charles Haughey as Taoiseach.

He left RTÉ in 1995 and founded his own production company, before being diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in 2004.

He is survived by his two sons, and was predeceased by his wife Dymphna in 2017.

President Michael D Higgins said that Healy’s talents extended across many areas, and continued to do so even when he was challenged by illness.

“His approach to everything he did was original and conveyed with enthusiasm,” the president said in a statement.

“To have known him as a friend was a great privilege. He was loyal in his friendship and generous in its expression.

“While he will be missed by so many who have been inspired and entertained by his work, his loss will be felt most acutely by his sons Oisín and Fionain and other members of their family to all of whom Sabina and I send our deepest sympathy.” 

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin also expressed her condolences to Healy’s family and friends.

“Shay Healy was a gifted songwriter and a national treasure,” she said in a statement.

“His beautiful song writing inspired a generation of Irish artists to take their place on the world stage. 

“His time as a broadcaster brought Shay into our homes where the Irish public fell in love with the man and with his irreverent and vital spirit.

“His battle with Parkinson’s Disease in his later years was so difficult but also a source of great inspiration for many dealing with the same struggles. I wish to offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Shay at this very difficult time.”

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