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19/10/2021

'Exhausted' Laois woman and RTÉ presenter Claire Byrne at 'crossroads'

Father's death has put life in perspective

claire byrne

Claire Byrne started her seventh season of the Monday night show on RTÉ 1 this year

Mountrath native Claire Byrne is considering her career options with RTÉ as she says the demands of presenting on radio and TV are having an impact.

The Laois woman presents Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ 1 TV on Monday nights while she more recently took over the daytime RTÉ Radio 1 Today slot previously hosted by Sean O'Rourke and Pat Kenny.

She spoke about the challenges of the work which were brought into focus by the death of her father Tom at home in Laois.

"I’m not embarrassed to say it’s taking its toll on me. Of course I realise I’m in a really privileged position.

"I’m doing a job I love and I’m well paid for it, but I’m not being honest if I don’t say it’s exhausting or that I’m not seeing enough of my children.

"So it comes back to that choice, that decision. And because Claire Byrne Live is performing so well in its time slot, the final decision will most likely be mine. That’s the crossroads I’m at,” she told the RTÉ Guide.

Claire, who contracted Covid-19 but presented from her garden shed in 2020, spoke about how her father's death in has made her reflect on life. She grew up on the family farm with father Tom and mum Breda.

Tom, who was Honorary President of St. Fintan's GAA Club, died peacefully on June 11 surrounded by his loving family wife Breda and children Maura, Fiona, Tommy, Claire, Ann and Eileen.

"In the lead up to my father’s death, and ever since, I’ve been thinking that life is really short: 80-odd years and so I’m more than halfway there,” she said.

"The thing is I really love working, my great passion after my family.

“So I don’t want to cut my nose to spite my face, but at the same time I’m constantly fighting exhaustion and I don’t want to be in that position long term,” she said.

Claire has had a hectic professional life since doing her Leaving Cert in the Brigidine Convent Mountrath. She started with East Coast Radio before moving to the UK and spending a spell in the Channel Islands. 

She has worked with Channel 5, ITV and the BBC but returned to Ireland to work with TV3 where she became the main news anchor in 2004.  She moved to RTÉ in 20012.

She is married to business consultant Gerry Scollan with whom she has three children.

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