Talented broadcaster who gave a voice to many small Gaeltacht communities

Feardorcha Ó Colla: June 16th, 1942-Oct 22nd, 2013

Feardorcha O Colla in 1972

Feardorcha O Colla in 1972

Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 00:01

Feardorcha Ó Colla (known in English as Freddie Coll), who has died in his native Gweedore, Co Donegal, was a pioneer in Irish-language broadcasting.

He was one of the first seven journalists appointed to Raidió na Gaeltachta when the station was established in 1972, and was also regional controller for Donegal.

As a broadcaster he gave the voice they never previously had to many small and marginalised communities. Through his work, the Gaeltacht communities of Donegal felt they had a radio station that belonged to them.

Ideas for programmes
Ó Colla did this because he was a very talented broadcaster, who understood the medium. One of his most important talents was the ability to generate ideas for programmes.

Bhí bua níos mó aige, agus b’shin bheith ábalta labhairt le gnáth-daoine agus iad a chur ar a suaimhneas. Trí sin, thug sé guth dóibh, gur léirigh an saibhreas cultúrtha a bhí i bpobal s’aige.

He was at all times a professional. On a personal level, his political loyalty lay with Fianna Fáil. He never showed that in his work. All parties recognised him as an impartial broadcaster.

Ó Colla was born in June 1942, youngest of three children to Teague Ó Colla, a farmer, and his wife Bridget (née McBride). He was educated in the national schools of Na Doirí Beaga and Cnoc an Stollaire.

He received secondary education at Ardscoil Mhuire in Gweedore, and graduated in Commerce from University College, Galway (now the National University of Ireland, Galway).

After graduation, he worked for some time as a teacher before entering journalism.

He left Raidió na Gaeltachta in the mid-1980s. Leaving broadcasting freed him to become active in politics. He was a key worker for Fianna Fáil at election times. He continued working for the benefit of his native area.

Ó Colla was dedicated to the GAA, and one of the instigators of Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta.

His life was one spent throwing his energies into standing up for the rights of others, but too often not standing up for himself.

Ó Colla is survived by his wife, Helena, his daughters Dara, Brídína and Treasa, his son Martin, his sister Maeve, brother Peter and grandchildren.