Brendan O’Connor is to be the new presenter of the weekend radio slot held by Marian Finucane until her untimely death in January.
Starting in mid March, Mr O’Connor will present a two-hour programme on RTÉ Radio 1 from 11am-1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Mr O’Connor, who had been a frequent stand-in presenter for Ms Finucane before her sudden death, will continue to write for the ‘Sunday Independent’ and Independent.ie though he will leave his role with the newspaper as Deputy Editor (Features) and LIFE magazine editor.
Brendan O'Connor said: "After 15 years working in the Sunday Independent, I’m delighted to be joining the weekends on RTÉ Radio 1.
“The weekend is a time to pause, take a breath and review the week, and it’s also a time when people like a different, more reflective kind of radio, maybe even a bit of fun
“Marian’s legacy will inspire us to continue to explore, challenge and debate the issues that truly matter to Irish people. I’m looking forward to developing an informative, sparky, original and unpredictable show. I want this to be robust and enjoyable radio, always questioning and always seeking insight.”
Tom McGuire, Head of RTÉ Radio 1 said: "The death of Marian Finucane has created a void in Radio 1 that cannot be filled. Radio 1 has taken time to reflect on the weekend schedule and I’m really pleased that Brendan O’Connor is joining us from the Sunday Independent to present the weekend mid-morning show.
"Brendan is a talented broadcaster who will bring his own special skills to the role and I’m sure the large audience will welcome the new programme we will present at this time."
Independent News and Media publisher Peter Vandermeersch said: “We would like to thank Brendan for his incredible work for - and dedication to - the Sunday Independent over 25 years. I would like to congratulate him in his new role and wish him every continued success. I am particularly delighted that he will remain a writer with the Sunday Independent.”
Out-going Sunday Independent editor Cormac Bourke said: “Brendan has also been a superb colleague and leader and I would like to thank for his remarkable work – and work ethic – over more than 25 years with the Sunday Independent.
“His sharp and insightful thinking has given our readers a different perspective each week and they will be delighted that he will still be able to do that.”
Ms Finucane sudden passing in early January caused huge shock. Her funeral was attended by people from the world of journalism, politics and entertainment.
Figures released last week showed that the legendary broadcaster gained 19,000 more listeners for her weekend programme in her final months, bringing her up to 309,000.
Announcing Mr O’Connor appointment, an RTÉ spokesperson said:“Over the past two decades, Brendan O’Connor has appeared on and presented several hit shows for RTÉ. He was a panellist and then presenter on Don’t Feed The Gondolas and a judge on You’re A Star.
"He was also the host of The Apprentice: You’re Fired on TV3. Later, he presented The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ One for five successful years and the IFTA winning Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge on RTE One. Brendan will also continue to work with RTÉ television. Details of this will be announced at a further date.”