RTÉ broadcaster Keelin Shanley dies aged 51

Tributes paid to ‘passionate and dedicated public service journalist’

RTÉ presenter Keelin Shanley

RTÉ presenter Keelin Shanley


RTÉ broadcaster Keelin Shanley has died aged 51 following an illness.

The award-winning journalist “had been dealing with cancer for some time”, RTÉ said in a statement. “With over 20 years’ experience as a journalist and broadcaster, Keelin was the much-loved and respected presenter of RTÉ’s Six One News,” it said.

Jon Williams, managing director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs paid tribute to Shanley: “ Keelin was the best of us – and we are heartbroken. From Prime Time Investigates to Morning Edition, Morning Ireland to the Six One News, there wasn’t a corner of RTÉ News and Current Affairs untouched by Keelin’s fearless, generous, and passionate journalism.

“For Keelin, the story was never about her – always about others. Her legacy of over 20 years’ journalism with RTÉ saw her help tell the stories of so many often marginalised. She strove to inform, probe and encourage. Always inquisitive, interested, thoughtful and kind. The fact that she presented our flagship Six One News while dealing with cancer is inspirational in itself and so typical of Keelin’s determination to live life to the full.

“Our hearts go out to Conor, Lucy and Ben and her wider family. We are all poorer for her loss.”

Shanley grew up in Monkstown in Dublin. She graduated from Trinity College with a degree in biochemistry. She began working with RTÉ in the late 1990s, presenting a number of science and technology programmes.

She later joined Prime Time and more recently presented Morning Edition, The Consumer Show, Crimecall and The Irish Book Awards on RTÉ One. She also worked as a radio presenter across several programmes on RTÉ Radio 1: Morning Ireland; News at One; Today with Sean O’Rourke; and Late Debate.

‘Passionate and dedicated’

In a statement on Saturday, President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to the late broadcaster: “People all over Ireland will have been greatly saddened by the news of the death of Keelin Shanley, broadcaster and award-winning journalist.

“Driven by a strong commitment to social justice, she brought great professionalism and dedication to her work as a journalist. Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to her husband Conor, their children Lucy and Ben, her wider family and her wide circle of friends.”

Dee Forbes, RTÉ director general, said: “Everybody at RTÉ is deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague and friend Keelin Shanley. A passionate and dedicated public service journalist, Keelin had an expertise that challenged and probed as well as an ease that endeared her to all.

“Most recently, Keelin co-presented the Six One News, watched by huge audiences daily. Keelin was incredibly popular with all her colleagues. But our loss is nothing compared to that of her much-loved family. My sincere sympathies go to Conor, Lucy, and Ben, to Keelin’s extended family, and to her wide circle of friends.”

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Séamus Dooley, said Shanley’s “untimely death is a great loss firstly to her family, but also to public service broadcasting. Keelin was authoritative and insightful.”

He said: “She had a real passion for news, a respect for facts and an ability as an interviewer to get to the nub of a story.

“She loved big news days and was always conscious of the importance of the media in reporting politics and public affairs.”