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Lessons of change over 33 long years

Thirty-three years ago Anne Doyle read out her first news on RTE. What an extraordinary range of change she has witnessed at home and abroad over that time.

She has told us of disaster, earthquakes, political upheavals, abuse scandals, weddings, deaths, the rise and fall of political figures and dynasties. And much, much more. We will miss her delivery of both the big news story and the off-beat tale of human interest. We wish her good luck.

And without in any way succumbing to the rose-tinted spectacles of retrospection at this juncture, it is worth noting how her time as conveyer of news, good and bad, has coincided with the most dramatic changes imaginable in Irish society. Much of it has been for good. Much, as we have learned to our cost of late, has been for bad. But there is a lesson in taking her time as a snapshot of what those 33 years have done for us as a nation.

Most definitely the lid has been lifted on some of the truly horrific child abuse. The media, including RTE, has played key roles in both highlighting the abuse and campaigning for protection of the innocents.

Similarly we have watched aghast as areas of life were suddenly opened up to closer scrutiny. Political skulduggery of a staggering scale was uncovered and mercilessly exposed. Sadly it was too late before the political expediency of the Ahern/McCreevy/Cowen era was fully understood. Today we understand it only too well. And we feel the repercussions deeply. Thirty-three years ago we were heading into an era of national belt tightening not endured for generations. Today we are in that mode again. We have learned bitter lessons.

But we should not forget that we will come out of this. We have before and we will again. Ask Anne Doyle. She has seen it all before.