‘I get mother and dog guilt’ – RTE’s Mary Wilson on balancing career with motherhood and the two cases ‘that got under her skin’
RTE broadcaster Mary Wilson says working mums “always feel guilty about something”.
The award-winning journalist and presenter of RTE Radio One’s ‘Drivetime’ programme appears in this week’s VIP magazine alongside her 17-year-old daughter Aoife.
Aoife is the daughter of RTE Soccer Correspondent Tony O’Donoghue.
When asked if she has ever suffered from ‘working mother’s guilt’, the broadcaster said: “I suppose I get mother guilt and dog guilt. Women are always guilty about something, aren’t they?
“But I wouldn’t labour that too much. I think it has become a bit of a cliché, ‘the working mothers’ guilt’.
“I hope I have always made sure that Aoife is really well looked after. That she doesn’t want for anything emotionally. Aoife was always happy. And that was a great measuring stick. She has a great dad too, who plays a huge part in her life,” she said.
Mary had her daughter at 34, shortly after she was appointed as RTE’s Legal Affairs Correspondent.
She said there was never any question that she wouldn’t return to work, and said she was “blessed” to have great childcare.
When asked if she could have been a ‘stay at home mum’, she replied: “No, not in the DNA. My mother worked on the far, but she was a stay at home mum, and I wouldn’t have been brought up to believe that you shouldn’t be working or you should be.
“It wasn’t a big item of discussion. But it never occurred to me not to go back.
“But again I was very lucky with my childcare. Because I knew Aoife was safe and happy, that made a huge difference. And if she was ill, I would stay home. And I would never feel guilty about that because I think if you give 100pc in work, and sometimes need to take a bit of time out for your child, then so be it.”
Speaking about her spell as Legal Affairs correspondent, Mary says two cases really got “under her skin”.
“The first murder trial I ever did was Brendan O’Donnell’s, who was charged with murdering Imelda Riney, her three-year-old son Liam and Fr Joseph Walsh in Clare in 1994.
“It was so sad from the point of view of the family he had murdered, the priest he had murdered, and his own life, which had been blighted from the get go.
“And there was this argument over whether he was mad or bad too. I will always remember it. The tragedy and the failures of so many systems to prevent it.”
The second case involved Sophia McColgan.
“She was from Sligo and she and her siblings had been horribly abused by their father. What I remember so well was that Sophia wasn’t a victim, she was a survivor, and she had incredible dignity.
“I had so much admiration for her. And there are lots more cases that stay with me. But often it’s not the ones that become big stories. It’s ordinary people that triumph for one reason or another,” she said.
*Read the full interview in this week’s VIP magazine, out now