Monday 21 October 2019

'It's the perfect time to stop getting up at 3am' - Cagney leaves 'Ireland AM'

Glamour: Ciara Doherty and Mark Cagney. Mark Cagney has spent 20 years on ‘Ireland
AM’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Glamour: Ciara Doherty and Mark Cagney. Mark Cagney has spent 20 years on ‘Ireland AM’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Niamh Lynch

After almost 20 years of rising before dawn, veteran television presenter Mark Cagney is leaving 'Ireland AM', saying it is "the perfect time to stop getting up at 3am".

Cagney (63) has been part of the early morning show on Virgin Media 1 since its inception in 1999.

"I will be stepping down as anchor and moving on from July 31, 2019," said the Cork man yesterday.

"To everyone who ever worked on, contributed to and especially watched 'AM' over the years, my heartfelt thanks.

"It has been one of the great privileges of my life, professionally and personally, to be part of this thing we call 'Ireland AM'," he added.

He said he never thought the show would still be going almost 20 years later.

Mark Cagney with co-presenter Amanda Byram. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan/Collins
Mark Cagney with co-presenter Amanda Byram. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan/Collins

"I was approached by a friend and asked would I be interested in getting involved in a new media project," he said of his start on the programme.

"The project was the launch of commercial breakfast television in Ireland and ultimately became known to the public as 'Ireland AM'.

"As we approach July 2019, 20 years later, which honestly is 19 years longer than any of us thought it would last, it seems like the perfect time to stop getting up at 3am."

Cagney said the show has become part of the broadcasting landscape.

Mark Cagney with his wife Audrey Byrne. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Mark Cagney with his wife Audrey Byrne. Photo: Brian McEvoy

"An institution even, which has stitched itself into Irish daily life," he said.

"Every day I met someone new, and I learned something new and I did it in the company of people I admired and respected. What more can anyone ask from a job?"

Virgin Media Television's director of content, Bill Malone, thanked Cagney for his contribution over two decades.

"He is a giant of Irish broadcasting and has become a staple in Irish viewers' homes each morning," he said.

"He will be greatly missed by both viewers and colleagues alike and I wish him all the best for the future."

Cagney previously worked as a radio presenter at Today FM, 98FM and RTÉ 2FM before he joined what was then known as TV3 Ireland in 1998.

His exit from 'Ireland AM' is another tumultuous change for the show. His former co-presenter Sinéad Desmond quit suddenly in 2017 after 11 years on the show. Aidan Cooney left the programme last December.

Irish Independent

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