To Whom It Concerns


Gay Byrne

Broadcast legend Gay Byrne has died.


A Book of Condolence will be open for signing at The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 Tomorrow at 11am – 5pm and Wednesday: 10am – 5pm.

Veteran RTÉ broadcaster Gay Byrne dies aged 85 (RTÉ)

‘Country has lost an icon’, tributes paid to legendary broadcaster (RTÉ)


RTÉ Director-General, Dee Forbes, said::

“We are all greatly saddened by the passing of Gay Byrne who has been a household name in this country for so many years. Gay was an exceptional broadcaster whose unique and ground-breaking style contributed so much to the development of radio and television in this country. Gay’s journalistic legacy is as colossal as the man himself – he not only defined generations, but he deftly arbitrated the growth and development of a nation. Ireland grew up under Gay Byrne, and we will never see his like again. My deepest sympathies to Kathleen and his family.”

Chair of RTÉ, Moya Doherty, said:

“On a personal level he was a true and trusted friend, happy to chide when necessary but always gentle and loyal in his support. The Ireland we know today was in many aspects framed by the work which Gay Byrne did over many years and when we look at RTE today we can only feel blessed that we stand on the shoulders on one of the giants of world public service broadcasting. Thank you Gay. We, as a nation, owe you a great debt”

Broadcaster, Ryan Tubridy said:

“It is with enormous and profound sadness that I heard of the passing of my friend and mentor, Gay Byrne. He was the master, a once off and the likes of which we will never see again. I watched him as a child, worked alongside him as a young man and he guided me as I grew older and I will forever be indebted to him. We in RTÉ have lost a friend, a family have lost a father and a husband and the country has lost an icon. May he rest in peace.”

Broadcaster, Joe Duffy said:

“More so than any one individual, Gay Byrne represented modern Ireland and through his daily broadcasting on radio and television he propelled this country and its people forward. In no other country can one individual claim to have had such a positive impact on an entire nation over such a long period. Ireland is a better country thanks to Gay’s lengthy career behind the microphone at the centre of public discourse.”

More to follow.

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews


Via RTÉ:

RTÉ is to broadcast a special Late Late Show in tribute to Gay Byrne tomorrow at 9:35pm on RTÉ One.

The 90 minute live special will include contributions from Gay’s “many friends and colleagues across the world of entertainment and beyond including Bob Geldof, Andrea Corr, Pat Kenny, John Sheahan and Mary McAleese”.

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69 thoughts on “To Whom It Concerns

  1. Batty Brennan

    Amy’s comment deleted, Broadsheet? Why might that be? Oh yes, that’s right. Broadsheet has a policy of deleting unpleasant and gratuitous comments from obituary posts. Someone has died after all. In fairness.

    1. Batty Brennan

      Answering questions posed by commenters within their own comment is something BS has been doing for a long time now. It’s simpler and addressed directly to the original commenter.

  2. scottser

    i only saw him the once, in insomnia dun laoghaire. there he is in a hat, long coat and sunglasses and he starts loudly talking to the italian girl behind the counter who hasn’t a clue who he is, until someone finally recognises him, and he ‘ho-ho-ho’-ing away because some rumbled his big disguise.
    bit of an eejit, i thought at the time.
    still, no doubt my indifference to the man will be lost in a sea of rte sycophancy in the coming days.

    1. Praetorian.

      As was his attempted hijacking and ambush of Gerry Adams on his first interview on lifting of press restrictions against Sinn Fein…but that go as he planned…Adams wiped the floor with him and his vile panel which consisted of vermin like Austin Curry and Conor Cruise O’Brien.

      1. Chuckenstein

        it was a proper gang-up alright. If I recall rightly, Gag was told to introduce Adams as the most dangerous man in Ireland.

  3. newsjustin

    My most distinct Late Late Show memory is the time he (through pure coincidence) rang the number of a young woman who had been killed in a car crash that week. She was in line to win a prize – cash, car, holiday. Her mother answered and there followed 5-10 minutes of extraordinary tv as they spoke about her, how she died and the mother won the prize.

    1. sheepeyes

      I remember this! I was only a little one at the time but it always stuck with me. Wasn’t Brendan Kennelly his guest that evening and recited his poem “Begin” as a dedication to her?

      1. newsjustin

        Perhaps. There was definitely a nun on the panel.

        He closed off the show with something along the lines of: “Now, you’ll all say your prayers tonight (after that).”

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      Annie Murphy, Peter Brook, Father Trendy, Peter Ustinov, Oliver Reed, George Best, Spike Milligan, Sinéad O’Connor, Catholic clergy permanently on the panel on societal debates – all made the LLS entertaining in the 80s.

  4. Slightly Bemused

    That will have a big impact on Ireland’s society. Much as I was not a particular fan, he helped pull out issues that needed to be aired.

    Condolences to his family!

  5. Shane Duffy

    I suppose with Ulick gone a few weeks back, Gaybo had to make sure there was someone to put the reins on him. An era has truly ended.

  6. Spaghetti Hoop

    RIP. Whatever about the man’s personality, criticised handling of sensitivities, guests and controversial topics, he was a major part of Irish life and media.

    That Sunday afternoon jazz, blues and swing show he hosted on LyricFM up until his illness was brilliant. Awful shame they didn’t continue with another presenter (separate topic I know).

    1. Pip

      So right SH about the Lyric Show. Sunday afternoon not the same without him.
      Loved the radio show back in the day. His contribution was huge.

        1. Holden MaGroin

          There were two Colette’s apparently!

          One is a psychologist on Santa Barbara now. They interviewed her on Morning Ireland today.

  7. Clampers Outside

    RIP Gaybo…

    While I too remember the call he made to a winner who had died, and spoke to the winner’s Mum….

    I’ll also never forget his interview with Grace Jones… chuckling still as I recall the memory.

    Again, RIP that fella.

    1. martco


      RIP Gaybo

      I’m going for Collette first then Roisín

      I remember that Grace Jones one. Also that carcrash introduction/launch of Boyzone which I think brought innards spasming cringe comedy to the telly waaay before Iannucci ever came up with the concept.

      Also lets not forget the man was shafted TWICE in his lifetime separately by a pair of gobsheen accountants – Russell Murphy & Derek Quinlan – but still somehow managed to live out a decent life, fair fupps.

      Oh and compare him to the string of wee who used to make the tea…he’d have been more worth the €500k p.a. no?

      Say what you will but the man had class. Will be some funeral, wha?

  8. Iwerzon

    It is sad news – he was a constant in most of our lives. I wasn’t a massive fan though – especially after the Annie Murphy incident. But, Ireland has changed and he did his bit, I suppose, to make it a different place.

  9. Sean oc

    I heard a very moving tribute from Eoghan Murphy stating that Gay Byrne contributed to his third level education fees… he’ll be remembered as being very generous with his time and money.

  10. Janet, I ate my avatar

    Rest in peace, I’ll never forget his interview with Stephen Fry, so opposite to his views, but always classy

    1. missred

      He did a great one with Hozier too, I thought. Got some thoughtful and unpretentious stuff out of him

  11. Tea And Brexits

    RIP. Condolences to family and friends.

    Today is not the day for critical or gratuitous judgment on his contribution to Irish society.

  12. Tea And Brexits

    Who can forget the time Gerry Adams appeared…. the appalling Hugh Leonard sitting there fuming, huffing and puffing…

    1. shayna

      Ah, the non-handshake of the “Boul’ Gerry” – I often wondered why Gerry Adams agreed to appear on the Late Late Show, when he knew would be “greeted” with hostility by the host. It was 1994 – Adams’ voice couldn’t be broadcast through a Government directive by Margaret Thatcher since 1988 – he famously asked, “Who’s doing my voice today?” – he was told it was Stephen Rea – “Ah, Stephen, he does me, better than I do!”.

      1. Tea And Brexits

        Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act in ROI. Repealed by then-Minister Michael D. Higgins in 1994. I doubt Mrs Stephen Rea was impressed.

  13. SB

    RIP, he did great things on the Late Late and was the sounds of my childhood sickies hearing the jingle of his radio show.

    Then there was the Annie Murphy interview.

  14. bisted

    …still choose to believe he conspired with Stephen Fry and together they removed blasphemy from the constitution…never quite let the quare fellas appropriate the language either…

  15. shayna

    I recall Gaybo commenting on Eoin “Mugsy” Mulligan in The Sindo @2003 – He referred to him as a thug, so often found in bar-room brawls in Tyrone. Non GAA types commenting on GAA types is simply bad form. Nonetheless, RIP Mr. Byrne. (I think it was Collette, then Roisín).

  16. some old queen

    As a child I was always inspired by his first name, I later became the same. I raise a cup of green tea to the closet anthropologist- green tea flavoured gin but minor detail- may you ask uncomfortable questions there as you did here.


    1. dhod

      yes, big fan. their giant ribeyes on the bone served me well during BBQ season. Staff always v helpful. I hope they find a new premises soon. The former Gammells would be great

        1. dhod

          Just saw that. The turnover of premises in Rathmines and Ranelagh is incredible. Hopefully the Village butchers can figure it out. Former garden of vegan premises would also be a suitable size. Lawlor’s on Rathmines rd upper is another great butcher in the area

  17. Truth in the News

    To whom it should concern, who and at what level in the RTE hierarchy
    conjured up the idea for Byrne not to shake hands with Adams, and then
    there was the Dublin 4 type ambush with the pompous Mr Leonard
    This Late Late Show had an audience reaction, they all went over and
    shook Adams hand, Gay Byrne never questioned or exposed the behind
    the scenes backroom junta that controlled RTE for years and still does
    But let not all of this not take away from his talent as broadcaster to capture
    the attention of an audience and to hold it, his voice can never be replaced

    1. Verbatim

      “his talent as broadcaster to capture the attention of an audience and to hold it, his voice can never be replaced”

      That was were his brilliance lay RIP

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