RTÉ to replace Marty Morrissey in sport while he is on 'Dancing with the Stars'
Eyebrows raised in cash-strapped station as it will hire stand-in amid redundancies
Cash-strapped RTÉ will hire someone to replace Marty Morrissey in the sports department while he competes in its flagship Sunday night show 'Dancing with the Stars.'
Eyebrows have been raised internally at the decision to draft someone in to fill in for the well-known GAA correspondent, given that the station recently embarked on a raft of cost-cutting measures.
More than 200 staff applied for the voluntary-redundancy package. An estimated 79 staff left in 2017, while more are expected to leave the station this year.
That means that Morrissey (59) will be able to spend the new year concentrating on his dance rehearsals and won't have to juggle learning the complicated routines with working his regular shifts in Montrose.
That arrangement was not in place last year for his RTÉ colleague Des Cahill, who continued to fulfil his radio and TV commitments while performing on the show, often resulting in 16-hour days.
He was often up at 4.30am to begin his sports slot on RTÉ Radio 1's 'Morning Ireland' in addition to 'Saturday Sport'.
RTÉ has confirmed that it will be making arrangements to replace Mr Morrissey in the sports department while he appears on the Sunday night dancing show.
"Because it's downtime in the GAA season, Marty always takes holidays in January. So he's swapping his annual break for dancing this year," said a spokesperson.
"If he progresses in the competition, he will be seconded to RTÉ Entertainment until he is eliminated. The position of GAA correspondent will be temporarily filled in his absence."
She added: "The same arrangement was not in place for Des."
The popular GAA pundit from Co Clare has already been installed as one of the early favourites to reach the final stages of the programme.
One of the best-known stars taking part, he is not expected to be eliminated during the early stages of the competition, given his widespread appeal among Ireland's GAA fans.
Asked when Marty's replacement will begin work, the spokesperson said: "There is a competition ongoing internally at the moment. When that concludes, the person will be appointed."
Running for a total of 12 weeks, the first show will kick off on Sunday, January 7, and finish at the end of March.
Series one was won by now-retired Kerry GAA player and Garda Aidan O'Mahony, who beat off competition from actresses Aoibhín Garrihy and Denise McCormack.