Irish journalist Donie O’Sullivan said he was “overwhelmed by all the love from Ireland” on Wednesday night after he starred in US network CNN’s coverage of the siege at the Capitol in Washington.
The Co Kerry native was praised on social media for his reporting from the scene as supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump stormed the building.
He calmly relayed news back to the studio as hosts including veteran Wolf Blitzer urged him to “stay safe” amid the unrest and hostility towards journalists at the scene.
O'Sullivan at one point reported that he had heard one of those present saying 'next time we're coming back with rifles'. His exploits saw 'Donie' trending on Twitter in Ireland.
Comedian Dara Ó Briain was amongst those who congratulated the reporter, saying “CNN just introduced a reporter called Donie O’Sullivan and fair dues, he sounds exactly like you’d hope”.
John King, CNN's chief national correspondent, described O'Sullivan as "awesome".
Screenwriter Declan Lawn said of O’Sullivan: “All the other CNN correspondents can’t believe this stuff and are freaking out but Donie O’Sullivan is strolling around like he’s seen far worse coming out of a Carlow nightclub.”
Responding to the outpouring on social media, O’Sullivan said on Twitter that he was “overwhelmed by all the love from Ireland tonight”.
When asked about his experience on RTÉ’s Today programme on Thursday, O’Sullivan said it had been “surreal beyond belief”.
“Imagine rioters swinging from the chandelier in Dáil Éireann,” he said.
O’Sullivan said serious questions would have to be asked about how, in one of the “most protected cities in the world,” protesters could get into the grounds of the Capitol and also the Capitol building itself.
The Cahirciveen man said he was fortunate not to have encountered any aggression from the protesters, but he knew of some colleagues who had been in “difficult situations” during the unrest.
He said he had encountered different types of protesters - from pensioners wandering the grounds to “guys dressed up as soldiers who probably never served a day in their lives and were playing dress up yesterday”.
He said that had it been a Black Lives Matter protest, he doubted the protesters would have been allowed near the Capitol building, never mind inside and onto the Senate floor.
O’Sullivan has been working as a reporter with CNN for almost five years and prior to this spent over two years working as a journalist for Storyful in New York and Dublin.
He has an undergraduate degree in history, politics and international relations from University College Dublin (UCD) and a masters degree in political science and government from Queen's University Belfast.