Monday 15 October 2018

'It can either bring you closer or tear you apart' - RTE's Una O'Hagan and husband Colm on the death of their son Sean

Una O'Hagan, Colm Keane and their late son Sean pictured at the launch of 'The Teenage Years' (1997) Photo Credit: RTE Archives
Una O'Hagan, Colm Keane and their late son Sean pictured at the launch of 'The Teenage Years' (1997) Photo Credit: RTE Archives
Una O'Hagan with her husband Colm Keane
Colm Keane and Una O'Hagan have written a book called Animal Crackers: Irish Pet Stories. Photo: David Conachy
AND FINALLY: RTE newsreader Una O’Hogan, pictured with husband Colm, will bow out on February 25 after 34 years in the job. Picture: Sean Byrne

Sean O'Grady

Una O'Hagan has opened up about the death of her son Sean, saying her whole world had been "tilted upside down" after the tragedy.

Sean passed away on Christmas Day 2007 at the age of 20, two and a half years after he was diagnosed with cancer.

The RTE presenter (55) told how she found it difficult to discuss her son's passing with anyone, including her husband Colm Keane, for years afterward.

"To me, nobody else was going through what we were going through or could understand what had gone on for the previous two and a half years that Sean was ill.

"You couldn't even begin to explain to people. You could be talking for months and still not go to the heart of it. So I think that's a big part of what kept us together," she told the RTE Guide.

Colm told how the tragedy ultimately brought them closer together as a couple.

"On the day of the funeral, at the graveside, when all the people had departed I suddenly thought, 'what are we going to do now?' 

"I wondered does Una go one way and I go the other? And then, without a word, Una linked arms with me and we walked off together. That was a big moment.

"We had been through a lot with Sean and that can do one of two things, it can either bring you closer or tear you apart."

Una recently announced her departure from RTE News after 34 years, having joined the station when she was just 21.

She is looking forward to doing something different for the years ahead and insisted this is not her retirement.

"I will be 60 in five years' time and I would like to spend those five years doing something different, something positive," she said.

"I feel very lucky to have had that career but there are a few things I won't miss. I won't miss the early morning alarm clock, I won't miss the long commute, I won't miss working until midnight, I won't miss driving down the N9 and I won't miss worrying about my fringe," she said.

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