Wednesday 21 February 2018

Chris Donoghue quits Newstalk as he lands plum Government gig

Chris Donoghue
Chris Donoghue

Mary McDonnell

Newstalk's Chris Donoghue has handed in his notice just three months after he was appointed group political editor for Communicorp.

The broadcaster (33) who spent 14 years at the station has landed a Government gig as special advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.

The Minister’s current advisor, Caitriona Fitzpatrick said the Department needs a “strong” communications manager as they deal with the fallout over the UK’s Brexit negotiations.

She confirmed to independent.ie that Mr Donoghue will join her at the Department in early December.

She said: “We are very excited about having him on the team. We had a second position to fill and it was great to get him. He’s a good addition and we’re looking forward to working with him. It was worth waiting to get someone as good as him.

“He has a range of relevant expertise, particularly dealing with Brexit. There’s a lot of Brexit communications to do. We need somebody strong.”

A massive gulf between Ireland and the UK is evident. The UK's Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, publicly disagreed with the Foreign Affairs Minster on a series of issues related to Brexit during an early morning press conference in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Donoghue’s main task will be dealing with the Department’s communications as Ireland navigates the chasm that has opened up between the nations as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

In a statement released today, the former presenter said: "After 14 very happy years at Communicorp an opportunity to take on a new challenge has come up and I have decided to go for it.

"I am looking forward to the next chapter and would like to thank all my colleagues in Newstalk and Communicorp for their support over the years."

In August, the broadcaster’s drivetime programme with Sarah McInerney was axed  to make way for Ivan Yates.

Ms McInerney was given an 8am hour-long Saturday morning slot while Mr Donoghue was made political editor across all Communicorp stations including Newstalk, Today FM, 98FM and SPIN. Three months on, Mr Donoghue is leaving.

Minister Coveney’s spokeswoman, Ms Fitzpatrick said: “He’s working out his notice with Newstalk now. They (the Minister and Mr Donoghue) know each other reasonably well in a working capacity. Chris is someone that we’d come across fairly often in his capacity at Newstalk. He’s a great addition to the team."

In a statement, Communicorp's CEO Adrian Serle said: "I would like to thank Chris for his hard work and dedication over the years and wish him the very best in his new role.

"Chris is a big part of the Communicorp family, having started out in the Newstalk newsroom 14 years ago.

"Since that time, he has become one of the country's most successful broadcasters through his work on Newstalk Breakfast, Newstalk Drive and most recently in his role as Group Political Editor for Communicorp."

Chris will present 'On the Record with Chris Donoghue' for the final time this Sunday.

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