Morning Focus – Tuesday 05/11/19

Today on Morning Focus we remembered the late Gay Byrne. On the show, we celebrated his life by remembering his outstanding career and also the contribution he made to Irish society. 

After the Paper Review, in which Gavin summarised the coverage of the death of ‘Uncle Gaybo,’ we heard a montage of clips from Gaybo’s career.

Later, Sharon Shannon recalled her interviews with Gay, and in particular the special episode of the Late Late Show was in her honour in 1992.  We were also joined by Aonghus McNally who was a long-time RTE colleague of Gay’s and produced his radio programme.  Both Sharon and Aonghus had wonderful anecdotes to share of their experiences with Gay Byrne.


Lastly, we listened back on an excerpt of a 2013 interview in which Gay spoke with Gavin on a range of topics, including his work as Chairman of the Road Safety Authority and its role in reducing the number of fatalities on our roads.

You can hear those highlights below:

Also on the show, it seems the Clare Bus services will remain operational for the time being. A planned board meeting, which could have seen the company’s board decide to wind down the service, was postponed at the eleventh hour last night after the NTA indicated that they would review the funding being made available to keep its buses on the road. But is this reprieve merely a stay of execution? To try and answer this question Ger Hoey, Chairperson of Clare Bus joined us on the line.

To continue with this subject, Deputy Michael Harty, Clare Independent TD and Cllr Pat Hayes Caher, FF Councillor joined Gavin on the line to discuss the Clare Bus matter further.

Next on Morning Focus, Catherine Fegan joined Gavin on the line following the release of her book, The Murder of Mr Moonlight, which documents the notorious trial of Pat Quirke, who ‘discovered’ the body of DJ Bobby Ryan on the farm of Mary Lowry, the wealthy young widow he had been seeing. After the longest-running murder trial in Irish history, Quirke was convicted of murder in May.

Catherine was in court for every day of the trial, as part of her work for the Irish Daily Mail, and has continued to investigate the story since, carrying out interviews in Tipperary and further afield with people directly connected to the case. The book contains information that hasn’t previously been available, plus fresh insights into the characters involved.

If you missed our chat with Catherine, listen back below:

Next on Morning Focus, we were joined in studio by legendary concertina player Mary McNamara as she is this year’s MÓRglór Award 2019 winner. Mary’s brother Andrew and Orla Flanagan of glór joined Gavin in studio also.

Mary is an inspiration to many musicians in Clare, nationally and internationally, and an outstanding ambassador for the traditional arts in Clare, Mary returned to live in her home place of Tulla, Co. Clare in 1995 and set herself the task of restoring traditional music to its rightful place as an integral part of the fabric of life in East Clare.

In that, she has been successful as attested by the swathe of wonderful young musicians who are now enjoying the heritage of music in East Clare.

If you missed it, you can listen back below:

To finish a very busy Morning Focus show, Frankie Coote joined us in studio for this week’s Animal Welfare Update.