RTÉ News and Current Affairs

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RTÉ News
Independent Business Division (IBD) of RTÉ
Industry Media
Headquarters RTÉ Television Centre, Donnybrook
Dublin 4
, Ireland
Area served
Specific services for Ireland including Northern Ireland
Key people
Kevin Bakhurst (Managing Director)[1]
Services Radio and television broadcasts
Owner RTÉ
Website RTÉ News

RTÉ News and Current Affairs (Irish: Nuacht agus Cúrsaí Reatha RTÉ), is a major division of Raidió Teilifís Éireann and provides a range of national and international news and current affairs programming for RTÉ television, radio and online and also for the independent Irish language broadcaster TG4. It is, by far, the largest and most popular news source in Ireland – with 77% of the Irish public regarding it as their main source of both Irish and international news.[2] It broadcasts in English, Irish and Irish Sign Language. The organisation is also a source of commentary on current affairs. The division is based at the RTÉ Television Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin, however, the station also operates regional bureaux across Ireland and the world.


Early history

On 1 January 1926, 2RN started broadcasting. It was Ireland's first radio station. On 24 May 1926, there was the first advertised news bulletin on 2RN. Then on 26 February 1927, the first ever daily news report was broadcast on the station.[3]

During the Second World War, referred to in Ireland as The Emergency, because of the Emergency Powers Act 1939, media censorship of radio broadcasts effected news bulletins. Before all news bulletins were broadcast, the scripts of the bulletins were read over the phone to Head of the Government Information Bureau, Frank Gallagher. Censorship brought in under the Act was lifted on 11 May 1945.[4]


On 31 December 1961 Ireland's first national television station, Telefís Éireann, was officially launched. A new Television Complex was built at Donnybrook in Dublin and the news service was the first to move in. On 1 January 1962 Charles Mitchel read the first television news bulletin at 6:01 pm. Andy O'Mahony was the station's other chief newsreader in the early days of the new service. The new studios were still being completed, so construction work was heard during news bulletins.[5] Later on Telefís Éireann's first full day of broadcasting Broadsheet made its debut. This programme provided a more detailed analysis of topical matters and current affairs. There was a mixture of incisive and light-hearted items, unscripted studio interviews and filmed reports. Presented by John O'Donoghue, Brian Cleeve and Brian Farrell, some of these men would continue broadcasting with the station until the new century. Telefís Éireann's first full day also saw the first broadcast of the Nine O'Clock News, a half-hour bulletin including news, newsview, weather and sports results.

Broadsheet was broadcast for the last time in 1964. It was replaced by Frank Hall's Newsbeat, a news and current affairs programme that focused more on the light-hearted stories from around the country.

In 1966 Maurice O'Doherty joined the newsroom as newsreader. Later that same year the station's new flagship news programme was broadcast for the first time. Seven Days had a production team with people such as Eoghan Harris, Brian Cleeve, Brian Farrell and John O'Donoghue. In 1967 the programme merged with another, Division, and became 7 days.[6]

1970s & 1980s

Various presenters of Morning Ireland

When Radio Éireann and Telefís Éireann merged, RTÉ News was expanded, providing coverage to new stations RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio 2.[7]

In the early 1980s, in the space of two years, there were three general elections. This demanded a larger schedule of current affairs. New programmes Morning Ireland and Today Tonight were launched.[8]

The current set of TV News programmes began in 1988, as RTÉ re-aligned their programmes. Seán Duignan and Eileen Dunne were the first presenters of Six-One, which began in October 1988[9]

1990s & 2000s

The RTÉ News Studio in 2009

In 1991, RTÉ News appointed its first legal affairs correspondent, Kieron Wood.[10] Also in the 1990s, the first Washington DC correspondent Mark Little was appointed, and Teilifís na Gaeilge, RTÉ lyric fm and RTÉ.ie were established.[11] In 1992 RTÉ launched its flagship current affairs programme Prime Time replacing Today Tonight. Other notable current affairs programmes from the 1990s include The Week in Politics & Oireachtas Report

Much of RTÉ's News output remained the same throughout the start of the 21st Century. In 2003 RTÉ's news department was merged with its Current Affairs department to form RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Also in September 2003, all RTÉ news reports in English on all networks were rebranded to RTÉ News, ending the separate branding of News 2 and 2FM News.[12] In December 2008, RTÉ News moved out of their usual studio 3[13] in the Television Centre at Donnybrook and moved into a temporary studio while work was carried out in studio 3 for the relaunch. The new look was unveiled at the One O'Clock news programme on Monday 9 February 2009.[14] Due to RTÉ cutbacks, instead of using satellite, reporters on foreign assignments were asked to send reports by internet link. RTÉ's Beijing bureau was closed in June 2009.[15] 2009 brought major changes the current affairs schedule with the axing of the long running Questions and Answers which was replaced by The Frontline.


The 2010s opened with what has since been commemorated as "one of the most memorable moments of Irish television" being shown on RTÉ's televised news bulletins; amid a deep freeze on 8 January 2010, RTÉ showed one male individual slipping and sliding down the street in Dublin.[16]

On 24 October 2012, RTÉ News & Current Affairs announced some major changes to its output from 2013.[17] Prime Time relaunched with a larger studio and additional presenters Claire Byrne and George Lee. The Frontline was also brought under the Prime Time brand with the programme now airing 3 times a week. In 2012, RTÉ announced it was moving some of its regional newsrooms to local Institute of Technology as a cost saving arrangement. The affected areas are Sligo, Dundalk, Galway, Athlone and Waterford. RTÉ will retain the Cork and Limerick bureaux.[18]

In January 2013, RTÉ launched a new morning news programme Morning Edition which airs weekdays between 09:00–11:00 on RTÉ One and RTÉ News Now. The Week in Politics now airs twice every Sunday premiering live at 12:00 and repeated again at its usual late night slot. Morning Ireland relaunched in 2013 in a new studio and continues to air both on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ News Now. RTÉ News will continue its interactivity with a revamped news app service for smartphones, tablets and wireless live news feed.

RTÉ News and Current Affairs currently produces over 1000 hours of television programming and 2,000 hours of radio programming a year.[2]

On Saturday 26 April 2014, RTE News got a new look for all of its news programmes across RTE Television, with a tweaked logo, new opening & closing titles, new graphics, new backdrop in Studio 3 and a new arrangement of the 2009 news music. The new look was unveiled at the Six One news bulletin. [19]

On Monday, 22 September 2014, RTÉ News on Two was dropped. It was replaced two new early evening bulletins called News Feed at 18:55 and 19:55.


An interview for Nuacht RTÉ taking place

RTÉ News and Current Affairs is responsible for all the news bulletins on RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TG4, RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ lyric fm, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and RTÉ Europe. The division also provides written news updates on RTÉ's teletext service, Aertel, RTÉ Mobile and RTÉ.ie.[20] General news bulletins on TV and radio are usually branded as RTÉ News.

RTÉ News faces competition from within Ireland and abroad. For local news TV3 News provides competition in the television sector; as do Newstalk, Today FM and 4fm in the radio sector. As Ireland is a predominantly English-speaking nation, international news channels (CNBC Europe, CNN International, EuroNews, France 24, BBC News, Sky News, etc.) compete with RTÉ with regards television news coverage of international events. Despite this competition however, RTÉ News remains the most popular source of news in Ireland.

Television programmes

RTÉ News and Current Affairs television programmes include:

Special News Programmes

The department also broadcasts numerous special programmes throughout the year. RTÉ has comprehensively covered every general & local election in Ireland since it was established. RTÉ has also covered some international elections such as elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly and Westminster as well as the US Presidential Election. Each year the Budget is covered with the budget delivery & analysis given on RTÉ One with RTÉ Two covering the live budget debate from Dail Eireann. On occasion RTÉ may also provide rolling news coverage on an important developing news story such as on 9/11, the London Bombings of 2005 & events in Ireland such as the Dublin riots of 2006. Schedules are usually interrupted on RTÉ One to provide details of breaking stories.


On RTÉ One

On TG4

Irish Sign Language
  • RTÉ News with Signing

The department also broadcasts numerous special programmes such as election coverage and breaking news bulletins.


RTÉ News and Current Affairs team that have spent time on Morning Ireland

RTÉ News and Current Affairs radio programmes include:



RTÉ News content is also available worldwide on the internet. In addition to written content, virtually all of RTÉ's radio and television news programming since 1998 is subsequently made available in the form of RealPlayer audio and video clips which can be streamed, also, live news programming can be received live via streaming media in both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player formats. All television news content is available on the Ireland-only RTÉ player for 21 days.[22]

RTÉ News Now

Since 12 June 2008, RTÉ News is served by RTÉ News Now. The channel airs commercial free 24 hours a day with the latest live news. The station was initially made available on mobile phones and online at rte.ie/news. The channel broadcast in the Irish, English and ISL languages. The channel is also available on Saorview (channel 6), mobile phone service providers such as O2 Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and Android. The channel also provides a free service to users of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The channel is also available in on train services within Dublin city and surrounding regions under a special agreement between Irish Rail, Transvision and RTÉ.[23] Previously, Sky News provided such a service.


RTÉ have studios and offices in the following locations:[24]


The team

Newsreaders Sportsreaders
Bryan Dobson Sharon Ní Bheoláin Éamon Horan
Eileen Dunne Brian Jennings Clare McNamara
Susan Jackson Mary Calpin Jacqui Hurley
Eileen Whelan Ray Kennedy Evanne Ní Chuilinn
John Finnerty Sharon Tobin Justin Treacy
Aengus Mac Grianna Clodagh Walsh Dave Kelly
Úna O'Hagan Vivienne Traynor Joe Stack
Brian Finn Kate Egan Paul O'Flynn
Jan O'Connell Shane MacGabhann

RTÉ News: with Signing is signed by:

  • Wayne Raphael Reid
  • Eddie Redmond
  • Sarah-Jane Moloney
  • Eileen Coffey (Retired September 2012)
  • Jean O'Reilly,
  • Caroline Worthington
  • Wendy Murray.

Nuacht RTÉ newsreaders include:

  • Siun Nic Gearailt
  • Caoimhe Ní Chonchoille
  • Mairé T. Ní Mhadaoin
  • Áine Lally
  • Eibhlín Ní Choistealbha
  • Eimear Ní Chonaola
  • Maolra Mac Donnchadha
  • Peadar Mac Gaoithín





  • Cathy Milner (Foreign Editor)
  • Eimear Lowe (Deputy Foreign Editor)

Specialist Correspondents

Former newsreaders

Former Reporters & Correspondents


  • In March 2009, RTÉ was involved in controversy over a report about the placing of naked paintings of Taoiseach Brian Cowen in two Dublin Art Galleries. Initially, the station carried a television news report that displayed the pictures and treated the topic in a humorous light. However, after complaints from within the governing Fianna Fáil party, the station aired an apology to the Taoiseach.[31]
  • In May 2011, RTÉ broadcast on a Prime Time Investigates programme allegations that the Roman Catholic Priest Kevin Reynolds raped and impregnated a Kenyan teenager. A scandal ensued when the allegations were discovered to be false, which generated intensive media coverage and political debate in Ireland, resulting in a government inquiry into the broadcaster.[32][33]


  1. . RTÉ News. 30 January 2007 https://web.archive.org/20090818192801/http://www.rte.ie:80/about/mulhalle.html. Archived from the original on 18 August 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 RTÉ News and Current Affairs
  3. "History of Irish Public Service Broadcasting – Timeline". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Radio Éireann during the Emergency: 1939–45". History of RTÉ. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "MOVE TO MONTROSE: 10 DECEMBER 1961". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. ""SEVEN DAYS" BEGINS". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "RTÉ Archives: 1970s". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "RTÉ Archives: 1980s". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Duignan, Seán (1 February 2012). "Politically incorrect". RTÉ Publishing. Retrieved 2 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "RTE Libraries and Archives". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Retrieved 2011-233-03. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "RTÉ Archives: 1990". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "RTÉ Press Releases 2003: New Look for RTÉ News". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 1 September 2002. Retrieved 2009-06-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "RTE News comes from Studio 3, one of the smaller production facilities in Donnybrook". Alan Farquharson. Retrieved 2009-06-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Grainne Cunningham (10 February 2009). "Here is the new-look news". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. RONAN McGREEVY (13 June 2009). "The drama heats up at Montrose". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-06-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. O'Donoghue, Denise (8 January 2015). "The nation first saw this guy slipping on ice five years ago today". BreakingNews.ie. Archived from the original on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. http://www.hotpress.ie/Claire-Byrne/news/RT-shakes-up-News-and-Current-Affairs/9283211.html?new_layout=1
  18. RTÉ News. 21 September 2012 http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0921/338523-rte-regional-offices/. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. http://www.rte.ie/ten/news/2014/0426/611917-rte-news-unveils-new-look/
  20. RTÉ News http://www.rte.ie/news/index.html. Retrieved 2009-06-30. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Orourke, Sean (17 May 2009). "My week: Sean O'Rourke". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 2009-06-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "RTÉ Press Release: RTÉ player". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "RTÉ News Now links up with Transvision". RTÉ News. 19 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "RTÉ Studios". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "RTÉ announce appointments". The Irish Times. 8 August 2001. Retrieved 10 December 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Conor Harrington (2 January 2013). "Pat McGrath - Western Correspondent". Galway Independent. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Tony Connelly". New Island Books. Retrieved 7 December 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Appointment of New RTÉ Economics Correspondent". RTÉ Press Centre. 21 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "National Media Awards: Winners". Retrieved 2009-06-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Daniel McConnell (27 April 2008). "US snub for RTÉ political combo". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Naked taoiseach paintings removed
  32. Irish TV Network Defames Innocent Priest, Issues Apology, The Media Report, November 2011, accessed 23 November 2011.
  33. Republic's government order probe into RTE Fr Reynolds libel case, BBC News, 23 November 2011.

External links