Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Winking weatherman' Gerald Fleming is retiring from Met Éireann

Meteorologist and RTÉ weather presenter Gerald Fleming (1999)
Meteorologist and RTÉ weather presenter Gerald Fleming (1999)
Gerald Fleming. Picture: Collins
Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)
Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)
Gerald (Ger) Fleming (1988)
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Veteran weatherman Gerald Fleming is to retire from Met Éireann after 37 years.

Fleming, who was known for signing off his broadcasts with a wink, turns 60 at the end of the month and will step down at the end of the year.

Meteorologist and RTÉ Weather forecaster Ger Fleming (1990)
Meteorologist and RTÉ Weather forecaster Ger Fleming (1990)
Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)
Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)
Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)
Gerald (Ger) Fleming (1988)
RTÉ weather presenters (1999)
Meteorologist and RTÉ weather presenter Gerald Fleming (1999)
RTÉ weather presenters (1990)

"I'm retiring from Met Éireann, but not meteorology hopefully," he said.

"I still have an interest in it and I'm doing a lot of activity internationally. The Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five commitment is one that I'm going to step away from."

RTÉ weather presenters (1999)
RTÉ weather presenters (1999)

Wexford-native Fleming first broadcast the weather in 1984 on an afternoon show.

His career began in earnest the following year when he began presenting the weather after news bulletins.

RTÉ weather presenters (1990)
RTÉ weather presenters (1990)

He said his trademark wink came about almost by accident as he tried to form a relationship with viewers.

"When you're speaking on television in the context of a weather forecast, you might have 800,000 people but actually you're only speaking to one person and that one person is sitting on the sofa in Kildare or Cork, or whatever, going about their business, but you're trying to get their attention," he told RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke. 

Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)
Meteorologist Gerry Fleming (2007)

"I'm retiring from Met Eireann, but not meteorology, hopefully. I still have an interest in it and I'm doing a lot of activity internationally," he said.

"The Monday-Friday, nine to five commitment is one that I'm going to step away from.

"Because I've reached this stage happily, I am in good health and I've plenty of energy and plenty of interest.

"Indeed, there are parts of my professional life and other parts of life I'd like to enjoy.

"Our three children are grown up and earning their own corn at this stage, so it's time to enjoy the other things in life."

Mr Fleming said that he may be busier this time next year, and said he does not see himself taking part in any reality TV shows.

"I have lots of other things I'd like to do. I could be busier this time next year. Like every job there are bits you like, and bits you have to do," he said.

Mr Fleming said he is enjoying his current work with the World Meteorological Organisation and will continue a three-year project he has undertaken with the group.

"I'll keep that commitment," he said.

"At the moment, I have to fit that work in around my everyday job. Now it'll be more of my focus.

"I've picked up some value in my 37 years and I hope I can pass it on to other countries where meteorology isn't as well developed."

Read more: 'People stopped me on the street and touched me to say 'thank you, you saved lives'' - Joanna Donnelly on reaction to Ophelia

Irish Independent

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