Thursday 27 June 2019

'I'm glad I made the decision to leave' - Colette Fitzpatrick says she found Newstalk Breakfast early starts 'really hard going'

Virgin Media Television News anchor Colette Fitzpatrick Pic Brian McEvoy
Virgin Media Television News anchor Colette Fitzpatrick Pic Brian McEvoy
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Colette Fitzpatrick says her life is "much easier" since she departed Newstalk in February last year.

She had been co-presenting Newstalk Breakfast from 7am to 9am with alongside Paul Williams, Shane Coleman and Alan Quinlan for 18 months when she decided to leave.

The 44-year old admits the early starts and intensity of the early morning prep for the programme were the main factors in her decision.

"I used to do Ireland AM [inTV3] years ago and I was up at 3.30am in the morning and it didn't seem to knock a turn out of me back then, but with my advancing years I found it really hard going, I have to be honest, getting up [for Newstalk]," she said.

"And it wasn't just getting up but it was getting up and being completely switched on and tearing through editorials in newspapers and trying to figure out what was the news line and getting some news story that was brand new on the front page and trying to get your head around it."

At the time Colette was also co-hosting The Pat Kenny Show with Pat Kenny at TV3 (now Virgin Media Television).

"It was really difficult, and I was in and out of [TV3] and I guess I just had to make a choice in the end.  And I'd been with TV3 not quite since the beginning, not quite 20 years, but I've been here 16 years at this stage, so I always felt this was a natural fit for me," she says of her decision to return full time.

Colette became senior anchor for what was then 3News Ireland and fronted the daily 12.30pm and 5.30pm bulletins, which she will continue to anchor under Virgin Media News.

"It doesn't necessarily mean that I wouldn't do anything again on radio, but Virgin Media being involved in TV3 I knew there was going to be a huge big investment in news and that they were really going to support the newsroom," she adds.

"It's just a really good story from the newsroom's point of because things were very tough here for a while, at the height of 2010 and 2011 and everyone was very nervous about the way things would go.

"Thankfully, we just kind of rode the wave, got over it, and we are where we are now.  It feels very positive.  It feels like the investment is paying off, the ratings are going up, and it's all good now, so I'm glad I made that decision."

Read more: 'It may take viewers from RTE's 9 O'Clock news but that's not the intention' - Colette Fitzpatrick on Virgin Media News' 8pm bulletin

Forget male, pale and stale - women are at the top of their game in TV, says TV3's Claire Brock

Why Colette Fitzpatrick thinks Virgin Media Television were right to 'evolve' Pat Kenny's show 

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