Sunday 15 September 2019

'I really appreciate the support' - TV3 presenter suddenly quits job over 'gender pay gap' issue

'Ireland AM' anchor Sinéad Desmond leaves after 11 years on the show

Sinéad Desmond took over from Maura Derrane on ‘Ireland AM’ in 2006 but over the weekend confirmed her departure
Sinéad Desmond took over from Maura Derrane on ‘Ireland AM’ in 2006 but over the weekend confirmed her departure
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

TV presenter Sinéad Desmond has suddenly quit TV3, leaving her job with 'Ireland AM' after 11 years.

The broadcaster reportedly left her job seven weeks ago over a row over a gender pay gap issue. She has not been seen on TV3's flaghsip early-morning show since early October.

The well-known journalist (43) took to social media over the weekend as news emerged that she was no longer working with the Ballymount station.

"Thank you so much for all of the support today, it means a lot, I really appreciate it," she said.

She declined to comment any further when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday.

It is understood that she had been unhappy for some time and had broached the issue of pay with her bosses prior to handing in her notice.

Contract

While fellow presenters like Mark Cagney and Alan Hughes have been working on the programme since it began 17 years ago and were on contract with TV3, she joined six years later on different terms, with a staff contract.

It is thought that there was a discrepancy in the presenters' wages but an attempt to address this was unsuccessful.

Ms Desmond's colleagues were "totally in the dark" about her handing in her notice until it was reported at the weekend.

"Nobody had a clue where she was or what was going on. People thought that she was maybe sick or was on extended leave from the station," said a source. "Everyone was wondering where she was and there were a lot of viewers sending messages to the show asking about her whereabouts.

"So the fact that she had decided to call it a day with the show came as a total surprise. She has been there a long time and along with Mark Cagney, was its chief anchor.

"She is a huge loss to the show and to the station in general."

Confirming her departure, a spokesperson for the station said: "Sinéad Desmond has decided to leave 'Ireland AM' after 11 years working on the show.

"We would like to thank Sinéad and wish her well for the future."

When asked if her decision to leave was pay related, Ms Desmond declined to comment any further and said the statement was all that would be said on the issue.

Presenters Ciara Doherty and Clare McKenna have been filling in for Ms Desmond, with a permanent presenter due to be announced in the new year.

One of the station's best-known stars, she started with 'Ireland AM' in 2006, taking over from Maura Derrane.

She helped celebrate the programme's 15th anniversary back in 2014 and a year later, it was nominated for an IFTA for Best Entertainment programme.

Prior to starting with TV3, she worked as a features editor with a British newspaper.

Irish Independent

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