Big names of Radio Ireland to hit the air on St Patrick's Day


EMILY O'Reilly, Eamon Dunphy and Anne Marie Hourihane are among the names that will be used to attract listeners to Radio Ireland, the national commercial service which will begin broadcasting on St Patrick's Day.

Yesterday, the Independent Radio and Television Authority announced it had approved the station's programme schedule, which is being formally announced today, first to the advertising industry at an 8.30 a.m. breakfast and later to journalists.

Ms O'Reilly, political editor of the Sunday Business Post, will present a morning news programme between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. The programme will be copresented by Gavin Duffy who was with RTE and more recently the Louth commercial station, LM/FM.

Eamon Dunphy and Anne Marie Hourihane are presenting an evening "drive time" programme that will try to take listeners from Daily Record on RTE Radio 1.

Mr Dunphy is a columnist with the Sunday Independent and Ms Hourihane is a writer with the Sunday Tribune and the presenter of RTE television's arts programme, Black Box.

Cliodhna Ni Bhuachalla will be presenting a mid morning magazine programme aimed at a female audience.

As already announced, the head of news will be Conor Kavanagh, who comes from RTE. Others include John Kelly, who has been a presenter of arts programmes on BBC Northern Ireland, and Mark Costigan, chief reporter with FM 104.

Paddy Murray, a columnist with the Sunday World, is presenting a programme on Sundays and the former presenter of No Disco on Network 2, Donald Dineen, has also been hired.

Despite intense speculation that Radio Ireland was after some of RTE's big names, Radio Ireland's chairman, Mr John McColgan, said he was not seeking the Gay Byrnes and Pat Kennys. He once said that he did not want to replicate RTE but compete with it by offering an alternative.

One blow the radio station has suffered has been the decision of the local commercial radio stations to investigate an alternative news service for their sector, rather than subscribers to Radio Ireland's news service.