Saturday 20 July 2019

Women should only be on air if they have talent, says Mairead Farrell

Mairead Farrell
Mairead Farrell

Elaine McCahill

Today FM producer Mairead Farrell has hit back at claims of sexism in Irish radio saying: "Radio is run by women."

She was responding to criticism that only three out of 40 nominees for the PPI Radio Awards were female.

"I never know what to say when comments like these are made because while there may not be a lot of women on radio, there are an awful lot of women in radio," she told the Herald.

"In fact, radio is run by women.

"There's a lot of women in management, there's a lot of female producers and researchers and they're in charge of what goes out on air.

"If it's a male voice that goes out on air and the male voice sounds good and he's a great presenter, then I don't have a problem with that," she continued.

Women at the top at radio stations include current chief executive of FM104 Margaret Nelson who has been in charge there for the last six years and Claire Duignan, who was managing director of RTE Radio between 2008 and 2013.

But while there may be women executives there has been much criticism of a lack of female voices on air.

Mum-of-one Mairead (34), who is not shy about speaking up on shows in her producer role, said that she believes women should only be on air if they're talented enough.

"We don't need to put women on air just because they're women," she continued.

"I think people should be on air because they're exceptionally good.

"We do have a lot of very good male broadcasters in Ireland.

"If you're in control of what goes on air, which a lot of women are, then there's nothing wrong with that either," she added.

Mairead has left her long-standing role on the Ray D'arcy Show to become a producer on the Ian Dempsey Show so that she could spend more time with her son Dara.

"I'm moving on from the Ray D'Arcy... all of 16ft away to the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show as a producer," she said. "It's very tough leaving here, but it's something that's been on my mind for a while.

"Dara is growing up in a flash in front of my eyes. With starting work earlier, I'll be home in the afternoons. I'll be able to pick him up from school every day.

"This year, Dara started lessons and after school activities and I couldn't take him to one.

"I'm really excited about it because they have a brilliant time over there, but I'm sad I'm leaving."

The radio star also got engaged to her boyfriend of three years, Louis Ronan, while on holiday last month.

She gushed that she was very impressed with the ring.

"He picked it out himself and he got the size right and everything. I'm very happy," she told the Herald.


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