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... Oh, and Bird will land back into his €150k plus job

CHARLIE BIRD is to swoop back into his old job as RTE's Chief News Correspondent, despite his highly publicised failures in Washington DC.

And the best-paid journalist in the newsroom could be nicknamed "Tweety tweet" for his annoying habit of repeating everything his guests said on last night's documentary about his year in the US.

With almost three years to run as US Correspondent, the 60-year-old will pack his bags and return to Ireland by the summer, RTE confirmed today.

The station told the Herald there was never any question that Charlie Bird's job wouldn't be kept open for him as the station's top newshound.

The news is set to cause consternation in the RTE newsroom after last night's second programme of Charlie Bird's American Year continued in the same cringeworthy vein as the first show.

The station has declined to confirm when Bird would return, but it won't be until a replacement has been selected.

Last night, the less-than-intrepid reporter used his documentary to announce: "It's meant to be a four year posting but there's absolutely no way I'm going to stick it here for four years. I just couldn't do it."

He added: "I'll be back in Dublin, I'll be walking around and I'll go back to doing the job I was doing before I left."

He has informed staff at the Washington Bureau that he will be leaving at some stage this year.

"He spoke with management over Christmas and it was decided that he will be coming back this year," a source said.


The Washington role is one of the most coveted in the business and has traditionally being occupied by up-and coming reporters such as Mark Little.

A large number of applicants applied for the Obama posting in October 2008 when the job was given to Bird.

He now admits: "I'm almost 60 years of age. I felt this is really a job for someone younger."

The documentary has been widely criticised for Bird's downbeat assessment of his job and last night it continued as he talked about his loneliness and feeling disconnected from the RTE newsroom.

He constantly repeated the remarks made by contributors to the show -- raising major questions about the editing of the show.

Viewers also saw him crossing the days off his calendar.

He revealed that he had no friends in the US and was struggling with the news agenda.

"Journalists have all got egos," he said, adding: "I don't know what madness possessed me."

RTE is to start looking for a replacement in advance of the homesick correspondent's return to Montrose.

An RTE source said: "There is no timeframe for when he will be back but it will come as no surprise if it is sooner rather than later."

Nobody else was appointed as €150k plus Chief News Correspondent in Bird's absence and RTE confirmed he would return to the role.

The station said a new Washington correspondent would be chosen.