'Dark days' | 

Charlie Bird 'cries every day' as he opens up about motor neurone disease

“I cry every single day. On the dark days, and there are dark days, I cry and I wish I didn’t.”

Charlie Bird

Clodagh Meaney

Charlie Bird has revealed that he “cries every single day” following his motor neurone disease diagnosis.

The former RT É presenter was diagnosed with the disease in October of this year after he had been experiencing “major issues” with his speech.

In a candid interview with the RTÉ Guide, the 72-year-old admitted that his condition leaves him in tears everyday.

“I cry every single day. On the dark days, and there are dark days, I cry and I wish I didn’t.”

“I feel embarrassed with people sitting opposite me but I can’t help it.”

Charlie Bird with his dog, Tiger

On the day he learned of his condition, he revealed that he and his wife Claire Mould cried the whole way home from the hospital.

He thanked the public for their kindness after he shared news of his diagnosis on Twitter.

“Those messages of support and goodwill lift me, telling me that my life wasn’t all wasted time, that I did something with my life.”

In a heart wrenching tweet he wrote: “Recently I spoke about issues with my voice. I now know why. I have been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Thanks to all my pals for their amazing support. And the kindness from so many people. Stay safe everyone.”

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Charlie, who worked with the national broadcaster for almost 40 years said he “will soon be dead.”

“At the moment I’m not dealing with it very well. I’m struggling, I know it. I will soon be dead,” he said.

“I won't see my grandkids grow up. I won’t see them getting married. I’m leaving Claire behind and I’m leaving two daughters.”

“This sounds mad but Tiger, my dog, has got me through this summer. I love that creature, but he will be alive longer than me,” he shared.

“So a day will come… it’s hard.”

Discussing previous issues with his voice, Charlie said: “Years ago, I lost my voice encouraging fans to cheer after Ireland beat Malta in football, but this was different. I knew there was something wrong.”

“The doctor sent me to a neurologist, but by May or June, I knew it was something serious. I had my fears it was something that wasn’t manageable, or couldn’t be sorted out.”

Charlie had nerve tests on his legs, arms, face, and tongue before his diagnosis finally was confirmed.

Charlie Bird

For now, he remains mobile and is certified to drive, although ultimately he admitted, his entire body will be affected.

“Eventually, it will move down into the arms and legs, when, I don’t know.”

Charlie retired from RTÉ in 2012 after a long and successful career as a journalist.

For many years in the 1990s he was the only point of contact between RTE and the provisional IRA.

He has reported on major international events such as both gulf wars, the release of Brian Keenan in Syria, the death of Ted Kennedy and the earthquake in Haiti.

In 2008 he assumed the post of Washington Correspondent, before prematurely leaving the role in 2010 to return to his job as Chief News Correspondent.

His final broadcast with RTÉ was presenting The Marian Finucane show on RTE Radio One.

He went on to present three episodes of Tonight with Vincent Browne for TV3 in 2016.

Charlie will appear on The Late Late Show this Friday evening alongside his wife, family and colleagues.

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