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Lee rules out move to US as Bird flies

GEORGE LEE has officially ruled himself out of the running for RTE's Washington post, as the station begins the process of replacing Charlie Bird.

The former economics editor and politician says he has "no idea" what station bosses are planning for him, but explained that moving Stateside is "not a runner".

"I'm still dealing with where I am at the moment," he said.

The state broadcaster has begun the process of finding a replacement for Bird, but this time no technophobes need apply, the Herald can reveal.

A station memo specifics that applicants must be "proficient in the use of all relevant multi-media technologies".


It comes after a documentary of Bird's Washington year showed him struggle with everything from his computer, to the printer and even the alarm in his apartment.

When Bird returns to Montrose, the new correspondent will be expected to improve RTE coverage of US events by working on web-based platforms.

His shock decision to leave has left red-faced bosses with a massive gap to fill two years ahead of schedule.

They have now advertised the much-coveted post to other journalists at the station.

Speculation has surrounded George Lee's position since he resigned his Dail seat, but he has told the Herald that he has had "no discussions with anybody in RTE yet" and that the Washington job was not a runner.

"I've no idea what they have planned for me. I have a family and kids in school so it would be very difficult," he said.

In a memo to staff, human resources at RTE noted that applicants will be required to report "with authority" on a range of US issues including politics, entertainment and possibly sport.

"The suitable candidates will have significant journalism experience and will be proficient in the use of all relevant multi-media technologies.

"She or he will be expected to administer efficiently RTE's financial and technical resources in Washington," says the note.

The notice adds that the correspondent will be responsible for reporting for TV, radio and in the future, web based platforms on all aspects of life in the United States, "particularly on political, social and economic affairs".

Staff reporters who want to move to Washington have been asked to submit a CV with a short paper setting out their views on the development of the role of Washington correspondent.

The closing date for applications is March 26, after which bosses will shortlist candidates for interview.