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Broadcaster credits home town as university honours career

THE place where he grew up had a university in the middle of it -- and that has always stood to him.

That was how RTE radio news anchor Sean O'Rourke explained his success, as he received an honorary degree from NUI Galway, yesterday.

The Galway native grew up in the shadow of the university; his family home was across the road from the back gate of what was then UCG.

The presenter of the 'News at One' and 'The Week in Politics' on RTE was awarded the degree for his services to journalism.

"I could get out of bed at ten- to-nine in the morning and still make a nine o'clock lecture," he recalled with a grin.

Professor Nollaig Mac Congail, in his introduction, described Mr O'Rourke as the man with his finger on the pulse of the nation.

He was ever-present in people's kitchens, offices and later in their living rooms.

"And he is our companion of choice on our car journeys", he said.

A past pupil of the Claddagh National School and Colaiste Iognaid in Galway city, he graduated with a BA in English, History and Legal Science in 1977.

He cut his journalistic teeth initially at the 'Connacht Tribune' and later on 'The Sunday Press'.


He joined RTE in 1982 but left to take up the position of political correspondent with the 'Irish Press' in 1985. He returned to RTE in 1989 and has been presenter of the 'News at One' since 1995.

He has been News Broadcaster of the Year for the last three years, while 'News at One' has been PPI News Programme of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

The broadcaster described the award of the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws as a wonderful accolade. He was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Caroline Murphy, a broadcaster and psychologist, and their six children.

"I was very fortunate that the village I grew up in had a university in the middle, and it has always stood to me. But that's a tribute to my late parents, Kevin and Margaret, who came to live in Galway in 1961, in order to be close to the university," he said.

Irish Independent