Sunday 22 September 2019

'Six One' job offer too good to turn down - Caitríona

New ‘Six One’ anchors Keelin Shanley and Caitríona Perry
New ‘Six One’ anchors Keelin Shanley and Caitríona Perry
New slot: Sharon Ní Bheoláin

Sean O'Grady

RTÉ's new 'Six One' host Caitríona Perry did not look for the job. She said while she will miss her position as Washington correspondent with the national broadcaster, the offer was too good to turn down.

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

"I think everyone knows how much I absolutely adored America and I loved the job," she told the Irish Independent.

"It's such a huge job, it's the thing everyone grew up watching with your tea or your dinner.

"So when I was offered this totally out of the blue, it was very difficult to say no to."

She and Keelin Shanley will take over the 'Six One' in January when current host Sharon Ní Bheoláin 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've wanted it on that basis either. I think we got it on merit. We're both solid journalists," Shanley said.

However, Perry added that she thought it was a "fabulous" decision to have two women hosting the show.

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

It emerged in recent months that Ní Bheoláin was being paid up to €80,000 less than her co-host Bryan Dobson, who presented his last show on Wednesday.

Perry and Shanley said they have had negotiations about their pay and are both happy with what they will be paid.

"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 but yes, it is more about a new massive opportunity for both of us and a new chapter in the life of 'Six One'. That is very much were we are focused on," Perry added.

Perry said she will remain at her post in Washington for the rest of the year and doesn't think she will return to Ireland permanently until New Year's Day.

"I'm a staff member of RTÉ, so the way things work, when you get to the end of your term, you have to come home if you want to be employed," she said.

Perry made international headlines earlier this year when US President Donald Trump described her as "beautiful" and said she had a nice smile during a press event at the White House.

The RTÉ host admitted she did not know if Mr Trump had been made aware of the fact that she will be leaving Washington at the end of the year.

"I've absolutely no idea. Check his Twitter. I just flew in so I haven't been to bed since yesterday so I'm sure he will (say something)," she said.

"I'll be doing my farewells with everyone in Washington with his press aids and press secretary so I'm sure that might filter to him."

Shanley added the pair were looking forward to putting their own stamp on the programme.

"It's very much a team effort. We are very much looking forward to working together and bringing our reporting to it as well. There's lots of possibilities," she said.

Perry and Shanley said they both get along with each other very well and also happen to share the same wedding anniversary. "There will be a fight to try and get that evening off," Shanley joked.

Irish Independent

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