LAOIS-BORN Seán O’Rourke was selected for the top radio broadcasting job in the country last week, taking over the spot vacated by Pat Kenny.
Seán will take up the RTÉ Radio 1 mid-morning slot next month following Pat Kenny’s move to Newstalk FM.
One of eight children, the award-winning radio broadcaster spent his early years in Ratheniska, and is the son of former local school principal Kevin O’Rourke.
Originally from Westmeath, Kevin had hurled with the Lake County and he would go on to establish hurling in Ratheniska. The O’Rourkes moved to Galway in 1961 so their children could avail of a university education. Seán would go on to graduate from NUI Galway before joining the Connacht Tribune as a junior reporter.
Ratheniska man Har Ramsbottom said the O’Rourkes still kept in contact with the area. Seán O’Rourke launched a book in the village in 2000, while his brother, Fr Caoimhín, is set to say Mass in Ratheniska during the upcoming National Ploughing Championships. Another sibling, Lorcan, is a former general secretary of Handball Ireland, while his brother Fran is a UCD professor.
Seán is a multiple winner of the PPI Broadcaster of the Year. Speaking last week, he said: “It’s 40 years ago next month since I began a lifelong love affair with journalism and I can honestly say I am as excited about this move as I was the first day I climbed the stairs in the Connacht Tribune in September 1973. I love radio and I love news.”
Seán will take up the position on 2 September. As part of an RTÉ reshuffle, Mountrath’s Claire Byrne will also join the Morning Ireland team on Radio 1.