Funeral of Marian Finucane will take place on Tuesday
RTÉ broadcaster died suddenly on Thursday at her Kildare home
A photograph of the late broadcaster Marian Finucane sits beside a book of condolence at the RTÉ Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Her remains will arrive at St Brigid’s Church, Kill, for her funeral Mass at 12 noon, which will be followed by private burial.
One of the country’s most respected and influential broadcasters, she died suddenly at her home in Punchestown on Thursday shortly after returning from a trip to India to attend a friend’s wedding.
Tom McGuire, the head of RTÉ Radio 1, on which Finucane (69) presented two programmes on weekends, said the station learned she had died in her sleep when the production team made a routine call to check on preparations for Saturday morning’s show.
Over the course of a career spanning almost five decades, she was at the vanguard of media and social change in Irish life, in particular when it came to the position and rights of Irish women. For millions of listeners across generations, her voice was as familiar as that of close family members.
For the last 15 years, under her stewardship, weekend morning radio, previously regarded as a graveyard slot, became hugely popular, with The Marian Finucane Show regularly ranking among RTÉ’s most listened to shows. She relished the fact that she had spotted the trend towards weekend listening before anyone else in RTÉ.
Her most memorable interview was with her great friend, the writer Nuala O’Faolain, in 2009, when O’Faolain was terminally ill with cancer. It remains an extraordinary, heartbreakingly intimate piece of work, among the greatest of its kind.
A special episode of The Marian Finucane Show, presented by Rachael English, aired on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday morning. The two-hour programme featured tributes from colleagues and friends and reflected on Finucane’s best moments in broadcasting.
Regular stand-in presenter Brendan O’Connor will front the show on Sunday morning.
She is survived her her husband John Clarke, their son Jack, and her stepsons Jocelyn, Neil and Timothy. Her daughter Sinead died of leukaemia, aged eight, in 1990.