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Viewers shocked as RTE news anchor Eileen Dunne announces instant retirement live on air

The popular journalist’s career has spanned more than four decades.

Eileen Dunne started working for the national broadcaster back in 1980

Paul HylandIndependent.ie

RTÉ News presenter Eileen Dunne surprised viewers of the Nine News by announcing her instant retirement at the end of Friday night’s bulletin.

Ms Dunne announced in March that she was planning to step away after a career that spanned over 40 years.

However, she did not indicate when her last broadcast would take place.

At the end of Friday night’s programme, she said had one last thing to say.

She paid tribute to her family, RTÉ colleagues and the public at the end of tonight’s programme.

“This is my final bulletin after 42 years working for this wonderful organisation and I’ve only ever been as good as the people behind me,” Ms Dunne said.

“So a few thank yous. To my family and early mentors who got me here and sustained me. To my wonderful newsroom colleagues, both in front of and behind the cameras, not to mention wardrobe and make-up.

“And finally to you, the viewers, thank you for your support, especially during those turbulent Covid years.”

She added: “It’s been an honour and privilege, see you on the other side.”

Eileen Dunne joined RTÉ in 1980 part-time while teaching but began presenting news bulletins in 1984. The self-confessed news junkie is classed as a civil servant and would have been required to retire from her role in April.

“Eileen has anchored all the main Irish TV news programmes during her career, including the One O'Clock News, Six One News and in most recent years, the Nine O'Clock News, as well as radio news bulletins on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Lyric FM,” RTÉ said.

“She has also presented coverage of major global news stories and State occasions, including the official State commemorations of the 1916 Rising and State funerals.

Having started her career on radio, she continued her passion, presenting other programmes such as the 'God Slot' on RTÉ Radio 1, as well as music programmes on RTÉ Lyric FM over many years.”

Ms Dunne is Secretary of the Irish section of the Association of European Journalists and was International President of the association from 2010 to 2014.

The Dublin native and is married to Ros na Rún actor Macdara Ó Fátharta and they have a son Cormac.

Paying tribute to Ms Dunne at the start of weather forecast which followed the Nine News, Met Éireann’s Joanna Donnelly said: “What a career, what a lady.”

Meanwhile, RTÉ anchor Caitriona Perry has described Ms Dunne was a “generous colleague”.

"What a lovely sign-off from Eileen Dunne who just presented her final RTÉ News programme tonight as she retires after 42 years at RTÉ. Eileen is a warm and generous colleague and a real lady who’ll be missed around the newsroom,” Ms Perry wrote on Twitter.

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