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Friday 15 December 2017

Dick Hill, ex-RTE chief, dies

DANIEL McCONNELL

Dick Hill, the former controller of programmes of RTE Television, has died suddenly.

Hill started as a researcher in RTE working on the late Frank Hall's Newsbeat, before moving to the controversial Seven Days programme, where he joined Eoghan Harris and Lelia Doolan. After that he soared through the ranks to capture the plum position of head of features in the teeth of fierce internal opposition.

He later became director of television for RTE 1 and 2. Hill survived a liver transplant in the 1990s and spent his final years living in west Cork.

On the retirement of George Waters in 1986, the precocious Hill -- then aged just 48, was passed over for the position of Director General, which went to the assistant DG, Vincent Finn.

Hill left RTE and moved to Cork where he became chief executive of the fragile Cork Opera House. Hill ensured its survival, despite the economic woes of the Eighties. But he never lost his love of broadcasting.

In 1990 he was invited to chair CoCo TV, a pioneer of independent filmmaking. When the station moved to Dublin, he resigned.

In his later years, he remained loyal to the old semi-State: "I have never come across an organisation with such rigorous governance as RTE, despite some shameless political appointments to the authority," he once said.

A memorial service for Dick Hill will take place on Tuesday at 12.30pm at the Teampall Na mBocht, Toormore Goleen, Co Cork, followed by a private cremation.

Sunday Independent

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