BROADCASTER Joe Duffy has revealed the personal sadness he feels over his son departing to Australia for a year.
The Liveline host is father to triplets, but when Ronan Duffy (18) jets to Sydney next month, it will be the first time he has been parted from his fellow siblings, Sean and Ellen.
"It's a big trauma in our house because it's the first time that the triplets have been apart. I've told Ronan the first three months will be the hardest but if he gets homesick, he can ring or Skype, or listen to Liveline on the web," Joe told the Herald.
Stressing the importance of education in his 2011 memoir Just Joe, the 56-year-old spoke of his pride at how son Ronan had passed a series of interviews before being offered a year-long work placement in a Sydney school, but how he would have to hit the ground running in Oz.
"Ronan won't be doing any backpacking. They take their summer holidays at Christmas, so he'll be starting at the school in Australia in the middle of their school year.
"But I'm very happy for him too, because it's what he really wants to do," he said.
However, before leaving, Ronan and his brother and sister have to get through their Leaving Cert.
But their father revealed how space was so cramped at their three-bedroom terraced home in Clontarf, his son Sean had shifted his studies to the home of a good friend who lives near-by.
"All the kids study in their room but Sean took up the kind offer of a good friend who offered to let him use her living room. He has a desk there and plenty of space of his own to lay out his books," he said.
Commenting on the quiet that now reigned in the home he shares with his wife June, Trinity graduate Joe said his role in his children's studies was "making tea and running errands".
"I often offer to help but they mostly help each other. Being around is the best thing I can do in this situation."
The RTE star said the best advice you can give any student sitting the Leaving Cert next month is "stay calm and plan, plan, plan".
"I remind my own kids that the paper they are writing on is free so leave lots of space, plan your answer and stay the full amount of time. Be clean, neat and tidy, practise by picking a question in a mock paper and go after it," he said.
Joe launches the book The Battle Of Clontarf, Good Friday 1014, by Darren McGettigan, at The Gutter Bookshop (Cow's Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 2) on June 5th at 6pm.
See Sinead Ryan, page 17