Máire Ní Thuathail: ‘Ros na Rún’ producer with creative vision

Obituary: She formed Eo Teilifís, an independent Irish-language radio and television production company in Spiddal and produced successful children’s programmes

Máire Ní Thuathail: July 29th, 1957-September 19th, 2016. Above, with her dog, Stocaí

Máire Ní Thuathail: July 29th, 1957-September 19th, 2016. Above, with her dog, Stocaí

 

Máire Ní Thuathail, who was executive producer of the long-running TG4 flagship drama, Ros na Rún, and managing director of the radio and television programme production company Eo Teilifís Teoranta, has died aged 59.

“Her dynamic and creative vision was trailblazing to say the least, and her determination and vision was central to building our industry in the west,” said the Galway Film Centre about her contribution.

She was born and reared in Tourmakeady in the Mayo Gaeltacht, the eldest of seven children of Tomás O’Toole, who was from Tourmakeady, and Brigid Ford, from Salthill, Galway. Her family owned a local shop and public house in Tourmakeady, TJ O’Toole’s, which is still going.

Following primary schooling at Tríanláir National School and secondary at Coláiste Mhuire, Tourmakeady, she attended University College Galway, where she studied agricultural science. She worked as a senior education executive for Bord an Gaeilge, the body set up by the government in 1978 to promote the Irish language, before moving on to work with Coco Television, an independent television production company established in Dublin in the mid-1980s.

Children’s programmes

SpiddalMire MaraKitty CrashMise agus Pangur Bán

She played a central role in bringing about the Euroform Training Initiative in 1995. The European-funded initiative was carried out in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta, RTÉ, Fás, Teilifís na Gaeilge (now TG4) and Eo Teilifís. This course trained production managers, personal assistants, vision mixers, camera operators, sound operators and editors.

Teilifís na Gaeilge came on air in 1996, and Eo Teilifís, together with its business partners Tyrone Productions, had won the tender to produce what was to become its flagship soap opera, Ros na Rún. Ní Thuathail served as its executive producer up to the time of her illness earlier this year.

“Her passion for and commitment to the series and her absolute commitment to the training of young graduates in the TV sector provided a continuous supply of well-trained staff right through from script writing to acting and production, many of whom have gone on to work in other leading drama series in the country and internationally,” said Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, a colleague at Eo Teilifís and Ros na Rún.

Awards

Concerto do Chaitlín Maude

She loved to travel and her dog, Stocaí, was her loyal companion, having its own bed in her office. She also loved her garden, and enjoyed entertaining in her home.

She is survived by her brothers Kevin, Peadar, Dónal and Conor, and by her sisters Fionnuala and Sheila.