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*Rachael English

SHANNON’s Rachael English has been inducted into the IMRO Radio Awards Hall of Fame.

Rachael joins Galway Bay FM’s Keith Finnegan and the late Albert Fitzgerald of Midlands 103 as the three new recipients of the Hall of Fame award.

Chosen by a group of their peers in the Irish radio industry, the inductees range from national to local radio broadcasters, all highly respected for their skill, passion for their jobs and love for radio. Their induction was announced at a ceremony in the office of IMRO in Dublin.

Currently a presenter of Ireland’s most listened to radio show, Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 since 2010, Rachael’s career began at Clare FM. She joined RTÉ in 1991 as a 2fm news reader and later worked as a reporter for Morning Ireland; the News at One, Today With Pat Kenny and RTÉ Television News.

Her first full-time presenting job was on Five Seven Live on RTÉ Radio 1. She presented The Late Debate and Saturday View before joining Morning Ireland as a presenter. She has also worked on a number of special series. These include The Constituency, which focused on the issues and candidates in all of the Dail’s constituencies, and The Big Science Debate, where an expert panel discussed the ethical challenges presented by scientific developments.

Since 2002, she has been a presenter on RTÉ Radio 1’s General Election results programmes. She has also presented coverage of local, European and presidential election counts and has anchored election coverage from Belfast, London and Washington.

As a reporter and presenter, she has worked on a vast range of national and international stories, from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement to the Olympics Games to the Cop 26 Climate Summit. She was also given the honour of presenting a tribute show for Marian Finucane following the beloved presenter’s death in January 2020.

On top of broadcasting, Rachael is the author of six novels, most recently the number one bestseller, The Letter Home.

Speaking on Tuesday, Rachael said she grew up listening to broadcasters like the late Jim Fahy, but although she wanted to do the job, thought it would be impossible for a “girl from Shannon” who didn’t know anyone who worked in radio.

She said there may be people today who still feel that it’s not for them, or that they don’t hear anyone who sounds like them on the radio and more needs to be done to tackle that. In her case, she said she got her first break on Clare FM radio and paid tribute to Caimin Jones as well as the many others she worked with along the way. A past pupil of St Conaires NS and St Patrick’s Comprehensive School, she also thanked the current team on Morning Ireland and said she wanted to particularly thank the listeners who have remained so loyal to the programme, saying it’s a “tremendous privilege to do the job we do”.

Chair of the IMRO Radio Awards Committee, Chris Doyle described the inductees as “three giants of the radio industry”. He said, “Rachael, Keith and Albert have worked in front of and behind the microphone delivering audience and commercial success in their respective careers. It is great to recognise their immense contributions to making the radio industry the vibrant success story it is. Today is tinged with sadness that Albert Fitzgerald is no longer with us, he is such a deserving recipient of the award, and we know he would have thoroughly enjoyed being here. We are delighted that his wife Siobhan and his sons Stephen and Andrew could join us to remember Albert and his amazing radio career.”

Meanwhile, Clare FM has been shortlisted in three categories for the 2022 IMRO Awards. The 1pm news programme is in the running for best local/regional news programme, the Francis Street Sessions presented by Dermot Sheedy has been nominated in the IMRO Irish Music Programme or Initiative category. The station is once again in contention for local station of the year.

Ennis reporter, Brian O’Connell who highlighted how Cork boy Adam Terry had been waiting years for scoliosis surgery through reports for Today with Claire Byrne is recognised. It is one of five nominees for best news story.

There was double delight for Sixmilebridge’s Marie Crowe. She is once again nominated as one of the country’s top sports broadcasters while the RTÉ 2FM show she fronts called Game On has a report on the Tokyo Games shortlisted for best sports story.

A winner of News Reporter of the Year last year, John Cooke of Ennis is once again listed for honours in this category. The Roscommon native is a reporter for RTÉ Radio 1, most notably on Drivetime.

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