Morning Ireland

Morning Ireland is the breakfast news programme broadcast by RTÉ Radio 1 in Ireland and is noted as that country's most listened to radio programme.[2][3][4] It is broadcast each weekday morning between 07.00 and 09.00 and alternate items are normally presented by two presenters from the current rota, which included Audrey Carville, Rachael English, Gavin Jennings and Fran McNulty as of Cathal Mac Coille's retirement in 2017.[5] Occasional weekend editions are also aired on the occasion of major breaking news stories such as general elections, referendums or important news events.[6]

Morning Ireland
Morning Ireland.png
GenreNews and Current Affairs
Running time2 hrs
Country of originIreland
Home stationRTÉ Radio 1
Hosted byBryan Dobson, Rachael English
Gavin Jennings
Audrey Carville
Aine Lawlor
Mary Wilson
Produced byLisa Pereira
Edited byEmma McNamara
Brendan Fitzpatrick
Conor Barrins
Senior editor(s)John Burke
Recording studioDonnybrook, Dublin
Original release5 November 1984[1] – present
WebsiteMorning Ireland
PodcastMorning Ireland

The programme has been broadcast since 1984 and since that time has been presented by numerous eminent broadcasters including Aine Lawlor, Cathal Mac Coille, David Hanly and Joe Little. On its 25th anniversary in 2009, the Irish Examiner called it "a phenomenal triumph".[7]

The programme is thought to be important and influential to the field of politics in Ireland: Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese was a frequent contributor to the programme and, according to Noel Whelan of The Irish Times, "more often than not the first question asked of the Taoiseach raises something which was reported or said a few hours previously on Morning Ireland".[8] Government ministers use the show to explain their views.[9][10]


The programme was first broadcast on 4 November 1984.[1] It replaced The Derek Davis Show. It had initially been postponed and endured a difficult time during its early years. The first major story to be covered by the programme was a few weeks after it began when an air crash in Eastbourne killed a number of journalists.

The first presenters of the programme were David Hanly and David Davin-Power.[11] Davin-Power was also the first editor. Cathal Mac Coille succeeded David Hanly as the programme's signature voice,[12] presenting it from 1986 to 1990 and again from 2001 to his retirement in 2017.[13] Joe Little and Shane Kenny are other former editors and presenters. John Murray presented for the first time in 1994, returning in 2004. Aine Lawlor began presenting alongside Hanly in 1995.

Presenters Cathal Mac Coille and Aine Lawlor with David Hanly and David Davin-Power

When Fianna Fáil's former government minister Desmond O'Malley left the party, Morning Ireland broadcast his renowned "I stand by the Republic" speech for an extended period, angering then Taoiseach Charles Haughey.[14]

In 1994, Joe Little was due to co-present an edition of the programme from the RTÉ studio in Castlebar, County Mayo, during the European Parliament election of that year, when it was realised belatedly that it could not be heard in Dublin. Disaster was prevented by mere minutes. When the IRA announced its cease-fire that same year, Joe Little was in the Belfast studio beginning an interview with the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Sir Patrick Mayhew, when the sound broke down live on air on a temporary basis. During one edition, the entire programme did malfunction, and, with interviews suspended and a commercial break impossible, Hanly intervened to prevent a complete disaster for several minutes by commenting to the show's previous guest: "There was one other question I wanted to ask you [...]". Joe Little interviewed Lady Valerie Goulding to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of The Blitz of London by Germany.

In 1999, for Christmas Eve, the programme focused on those killed during The Troubles. Contributors to that programme included world leaders such as Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Mary McAleese. In 2005, a Mary McAleese interview for the programme caused controversy when she compared the children of Northern Ireland to Nazis. Ian Paisley, Jr. replied, "So much for bridge-building Mary", and described her remarks as "irrational and insulting".[15] The Orange Institution cancelled a meeting it had ordered with McAleese as a result.[15]

During the 2000s recession, an outside broadcast took place in the Waterford Crystal plant as employees barricaded themselves inside in a bid to save their careers. In another episode Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan criticised John Murray for his "dangerous and irresponsible" line of questioning him about Irish banks.

Brian Cowen on Morning Ireland at the 25th Anniversary celebration

Morning Ireland celebrated its 25th anniversary in November 2009.[1] It was broadcast in front of a studio audience and featured guests including Mary McAleese, Brian Cowen, comedian Des Bishop and author Cathy Kelly.[16] McAleese spoke of her intention to reduce her household budget during difficult recessionary times, including sending e-mails instead of posting cards for Christmas.[17]

In 2010 the programme came to international attention after Taoiseach Brian Cowen gave a controversial nine-minute interview to Cathal Mac Coille from a Fianna Fáil think-in in Galway; the interview led to increased pressure for Cowen to resign in the days that followed due to allegations that he was drunk during the interview.[18]

Garret FitzGerald made his final radio broadcast on the programme in 2011.[19]

In 2010, two presenters, John Murray and Richard Downes, left the programme to expand to further areas of RTÉ, and were replaced by Aoife Kavanagh and Rachael English.[20] The programme is also presented by Claire Byrne, Gavin Jennings and Fran McNulty.


Morning Ireland won 'News Programme of the Year' in the 2002, 2003 and 2008 PPI Radio Awards.[21][22][23] Cian McCormack, a reporter for the programme, won News Reporter of the Year in 2009.[24]

Hilary McGouran, Series Editor, and Shane McElhatton, Editor, were named by Village as amongst the 100 most influential people in Ireland in 2009. The studio and web producer of the programme, Lisa Pereira, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and educated in Ireland, France and the United States, was also on the list.


The programme, which is co-presented by various presenters, consists of a mixture of live interviews and pre-recorded location reports. Extended news bulletins are broadcast at 07.00 and 08.00, followed by a weather forecast and "It Says In The Papers", a review of the Irish morning newspapers. There are news headlines followed by sports news at 07.30 and 08.30 and business news is broadcast at 07.45.[8] AA Roadwatch provides traffic news throughout the programme.[25]

Brian Jennings (newsreader), Aine Lawlor (presenter), Nicola Hudson (AA Roadwatch)

A new website was launched in June 2009. It features additional material and a webcam that allows listeners to view the programme from the studio. The live stream from the webcam is also broadcast on RTÉ's rolling news channel.[26]


Morning Ireland is the top rated radio programme in the Republic of Ireland, with a listenership estimated by the Joint National Listenership Survey to be 491,000. It is considered the most influential news programme on Irish radio.[27][28] When ratings for the radio shows of prominent RTÉ broadcasters such as Joe Duffy, Pat Kenny and Gerry Ryan were declining in 2005, Morning Ireland remained Ireland's most popular radio programme.[29] It was at one point rivalled by The Full Irish in second place before that show ended.[29]


  1. ^ a b c Michael Good (4 November 2009). "Morning Ireland: How it all began". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Archived from the original on 16 November 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  2. ^ "The matriarchs of Montrose". Irish Independent. 25 October 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Morning Ireland tops JNLRs once again". RTÉ Ten. 28 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Morning Ireland tops JNLRs again". RTÉ Ten. 2 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Morning Ireland: Meet The Team". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Morning Ireland". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Morning Ireland - All should take a bow". Irish Examiner. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b Noel Whelan (7 November 2009). "Long way from Mike Murphy's morning patter". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  9. ^ Brian Kavanagh (10 December 2009). "Welfare cuts impact 'not severe'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 December 2009. Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin said today cuts in social welfare announced in Budget 2010 would not have a severe impact on people, as the value of the increases given in last year's budget still existed. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Hanafin defended the Budget.
  10. ^ Karl Whelan (17 December 2009). "Nama will not put banks in position to lend more". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 December 2009. Minister Willie O’Dea informed listeners to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland that “the ECB has agreed to give Nama money” when in fact no such transaction will ever occur.
  11. ^ Cormac Murphy (9 November 2009). "No party for Morning Ireland's 25th". Evening Herald. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  12. ^ Burns, John (16 July 2017). "Mac Coille joins the 'and finally' club". The Times. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  13. ^ Fox, Claire (28 July 2017). "Tributes paid to 'kind' and 'diligent' Cathal Mac Coille as he leaves RTE's Morning Ireland". Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  14. ^ "They said Morning Ireland would not work but now it's become part of us". Evening Herald. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  15. ^ a b "McAleese row over Nazi comments". BBC. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  16. ^ Jim Carroll (5 November 2009). "25 years of Morning Ireland". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  17. ^ "President cuts her personal cloth". BBC. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  18. ^ McDonald, Henry (20 September 2010). "Irish PM Brian Cowen under pressure after 'drunk' radio interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  19. ^ "Dr Garret FitzGerald dies in a Dublin hospital aged 85". Irish Independent. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  20. ^ "New faces for Morning Ireland team". RTÉ. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Entry Archive - 2002 - Winners". PPI Radio Awards. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  22. ^ "Entry Archive - 2003 - Winners". PPI Radio Awards. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  23. ^ "RTÉ Radio 1 is Station of the Year". RTÉ Entertainment. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  24. ^ "2009 PPI RADIO AWARDS WINNERS". PPI Radio Awards. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  25. ^ "AA Roadwatch". Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  26. ^ "Morning Ireland on the web". Morning Ireland. 4 June 2009. Archived from the original on 13 June 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  27. ^ "Over 1 Million Tune into RTÉ Radio". RTÉ Press Centre. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "Morning Ireland leads RTÉ resurgence". Irish Examiner. 21 August 2009. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  29. ^ a b McCárthaigh, Seán (18 February 2006). "New RTÉ Radio 1 boss tasked with halting the slide in big-name listenership". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 13 March 2021.

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