Monday 26 September 2016

Claire Byrne on juggling work and family: 'No one asks dads how they cope'

Sharon McGowan

Published 30/10/2015 | 07:23

Claire Byrne
Claire Byrne
Dublin homeless women’s charity, Daisyhouse, is encouraging companies, schools, community groups, organisations and the general public to hold their own ‘Have a Cuppa for Daisyhouse’ event to help raise essential funds to support women to break the cycle of homelessness
Claire Byrne, along with Sean O'Rourke and Brian Dobson, maintains a professional neutrality at the same time as being a forensic interviewer
Gerry Scollan and Claire Byrne in 2012

As a woman on TV, Claire Byrne is constantly quizzed about being a working mum but she says we must spare a thought for working men.

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The current affairs broadcaster and her IT consultant fiance Gerry Scollan are proud parents to Patrick (2) and Jane (1) and while Claire doesn't mind talking about the difficulties of balancing motherhood and work, she admitted she feels sorry for fathers.

While famous mums are regularly asked how they're dealing with being a parent, Claire said that men are rarely asked how they're coping.

"It doesn't bother me when people ask - it is a juggle, but it's also a juggle for men too. It's a struggle for Gerry, he does the creche drop every morning and no one asks him how tough he finds it," she told the Herald.

Claire Byrne on set at RTE.
Claire Byrne on set at RTE.

Read more: 'I thought I'd never find love again after my marriage ended,' reveals Claire Byrne

"It's busy, that's life - but it's worth it. They're fantastic and we wouldn't change things for the world."

Last month the former Prime Time presenter returned to TV screens with the second series of her flagship current affairs show which airs every Monday night.

Along with asking hard-hitting questions on screen, Claire also presents her own radio show on Saturday afternoons - an arrangement that suits her young family.

Gerry Scollan and Claire Byrne in 2012
Gerry Scollan and Claire Byrne in 2012

"Work is going great - it's busy and both TV and radio are going really well," she said.

"I have worked all sorts of hours my whole life - I've worked late at night and early in the morning so it doesn't bother me. Plus it works really well with two young children - Gerry and I can juggle the weekends between us.

"I wonder what I did with my time before [I had children], I used to complain and say 'Oh I'm so busy' but now I realise how much time I actually had compared to now."

The Laois native took time out from her hectic schedule yesterday to help launch Dublin homeless women's charity Daisy House's new fundraising campaign 'Have a Cuppa for Daisy House', encouraging the public to hold tea parties in aid of the cause.

Dublin homeless women’s charity, Daisyhouse, is encouraging companies, schools, community groups, organisations and the general public to hold their own ‘Have a Cuppa for Daisyhouse’ event to help raise essential funds to support women to break the cycle of homelessness
Dublin homeless women’s charity, Daisyhouse, is encouraging companies, schools, community groups, organisations and the general public to hold their own ‘Have a Cuppa for Daisyhouse’ event to help raise essential funds to support women to break the cycle of homelessness

"This is a really special one for me. The women in Daisy House have become my friends in a way so I'm really committed to making sure it survives - it's really struggling in terms of funding," Claire said.

"I'm an ambassador so I've been trying to spread the word and I've also been down to visit them and do whatever I can to help them.

Read more: A tale of two Claires: How Byrne takes inspiration from Underwood

"This is an organisation that once you begin to get involved with them you get sucked in very quickly, you find yourself swept along by the positivity."

While she's no stranger to interviewing politicians, Claire recently admitted she has no interest in making a career change and running for office - as has been rumoured with her RTE colleague Miriam O'Callaghan.

"Absolutely none," Claire said. "It's not something I would ever be interested in.

"I never have had or will have any political ambitions. I could never understand why someone would choose that as a life."

Herald

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