Glamorous Alison is the new face of UTV Ireland
Meet the face of our newest television station - UTV Ireland. Alison Comyn will be beamed into homes around the country every night from January 1, fronting the station's news and current affairs programme, Ireland Live at 10.
The glamorous 44-year-old presenter, who is from Co Louth, told the Sunday Independent: "It's a dream come true to get back to what I love, which is live news. It is also a relief to finally be able to tell people now."
Alison is a highly experienced broadcaster who presented numerous current affairs and entertainment programmes in the UK and Ireland, with RTE, BBC, Sky News and Channel 4.
But she has also had to overcome tragedy along the way when her fellow BBC holiday show presenter Jill Dando was gunned down in a cold-blooded murder in April 1999.
"It was a terrible shock," Alison recalls. "I remember I was driving from Dublin to Belfast when the news broke. My mom called me and said 'I have some news that is probably going to upset you'. She said 'you need to pull the car over'. I couldn't believe it."
These days she is back enjoying the buzz of breaking news - and warns guests who appear on the programme not to expect an easy ride.
"I've been described as warm, I like to think I can put people at ease, but I can also go in for the kill so I am no pussy cat either," she said.
Giving a nod to Ireland's well-established female news anchors, including RTE's Sharon Ni Bheolain and Grainne Seoige - who has launched two news channels in Ireland, Comyn added: "There's a very high calibre of news journalists in Ireland. But I am my own person and I don't try to compare myself to anyone else. I'm not looking to emulate anyone. I just want to concentrate on what I am doing and bring my own personal style to the programme."
Speaking about her 20-year experience in the media industry, she said: "I think when you reach your forties you become more secure in the way you look and the way you are, in your 20s you are still searching for your image. I don't know how you can have the experience necessary to front a programme like this if you were a lot younger."
UTV Ireland's MD Michael Wilson said the station was delighted to have Alison anchoring its news team.
"Alison brings a wealth of experience to UTV Ireland and our news team. Her passion and professionalism are a great fit for the channel. UTV is widely recognised for investing in and producing high quality news and current affairs programming and the same core values will be applied to UTV Ireland. Our nightly news programme, Ireland Live at 10, will deliver the latest breaking stories along with in-depth analysis and debate."
UTV Ireland's Head of Channel Mary Curtis said the station will broadcast live from its new Dublin headquarters, in addition to its existing news facilities in Belfast and Derry.
She added: "We are in the process of securing news bureaux in Cork, Galway and Limerick to ensure the best all-island coverage."