Wednesday 13 December 2017

Famous Irish foreign reporters

Charlie Bird
Charlie Bird
Fergal Keane
Tommie Gorman
Carole Coleman
Orla Guerin

Pat Fitzpatrick

As RTE's Caitriona Perry talks about a day in her life , we take a look at some other famous Irish foreign correspondents


Charlie started his career as a researcher on Seven Days during the 1970s. We've watched a few studio segments with the sound muted, and can confirm the show was a smoking competition for middle-aged men in bad suits. Back in 1998, Charlie and George Lee broke the story of a banking scandal in National Irish Bank. We learned our lesson from that, and thankfully haven't had an iota of trouble with the banks since, says you sarcastically, bitter after being conned out of your tracker.


This BBC foreign correspondent from Cork probably had to modify his accent. Mainly because it wouldn't do for a BBC reporter to describe Chinese officials in Hong Kong as "a shower of langers from Beijing who thought they were it. You'd swear they were from Dublin, like". Fergal wrote a beautiful letter to his newborn son in 1996. As against the normal letter an Irish father might write. "Dear son, your mother is dying for you to come home. I'm not. Love, Dad."


The Yanks were surprised when Carole asked George W Bush some awkward questions during an interview. Irish people who rock up at the White House usually arrive on Paddy's Day and say, "Jesus, I'd love to be a proper politician like yourself". White House officials complained that Carole kept butting in on poor George. Look, after Bill Clinton's reign, they were probably nervous about anyone interrupting the President in the Oval Office.


Just as well he's not RTE's Medical Correspondent. You can imagine the song. "Tommie used to work on the docs." (Docs? No? Sorry.) Tommie's current role in RTE is as Northern Editor in Belfast. That's not a foreign posting, says you, still mad for it after the 1916 centenary bash last year. Tommie has shown great courage, not shying away from the hard questions when interviewing Irish men with a history of violence. But enough about his post-Saipan chat with Roy Keane.


This BBC war reporter has witnessed plenty savagery in her time. Mainly when she was added to the Labour ticket in Dublin against the wishes of the local members. It was a relief to join Kurdish tanks on the push into Mosul after that. Orla has an MBE from the Queen. In Britain, that stands for Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Over here, it means you'll be hounded by Provo trolls on Twitter for the rest of your life.

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