Saturday 20 January 2018

'We got Six One on merit, not because of our gender', says new host Keelin Shanley

New ‘Six One’ anchors Keelin Shanley and Caitríona Perry
New ‘Six One’ anchors Keelin Shanley and Caitríona Perry

Sean O'Grady

New Six One hosts Caitriona Perry and Keelin Shanley have said they don't believe recent controversy over female roles in the media had any influence in them getting the nod for the flagship programme.

The presenters will take over in January, when current host Sharon Ni Bheolain bows out to present the Nine O'clock News and Crimecall.

"I don't think we got it because we are women; I don't think we would have wanted it on that basis either," Shanley said. "I think we got it on merit, we're both solid journalists."

Perry added that she thought it was an inspired decision to have two women hosting the news.

"It's a fabulous one, don't you think? I think it's a brave and enlightened choice by our boss, particularly given the debate that there has been in Ireland," she said.

It emerged in recent months that Ni Bheolain was being paid up to €80,000 less than her co-host Bryan Dobson, who presented his last Six One on Wednesday. Perry and Shanley said they negotiated over their pay and are both happy with their remuneration.

"Pay negotiations, we've been through them. All I can say really is I'm happy with how I'm being paid," Shanley said.

"I'm the same and that is obviously private information," said Perry.

"But yes, it is more about a new massive opportunity for both of us and a new chapter in the life of Six One."

The Dubliner said leaving her job as Washington correspondent was difficult.

"This is not a job I ever went looking for," she said.

"I think everyone knows how much I absolutely adored America and I loved the job.

"But it's the thing everyone grew up watching with your tea or your dinner. When I was offered this totally out of the blue, it was very difficult to say no to."

Herald

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