Sean O’Rourke has announced that he is to retire from his role as presenter of RTÉ Radio 1’s Today programme in May. Sean has presented the top 10 rating show since taking over as the new presenter in 2013. His departure will mark the end of over 25 years as a presenter of daily news and current affairs on RTÉ Radio 1. The former News at One and The Week in Politics presenter is a multiple winner of the PPI News Journalist of the Year Award, and grew listeners to the flagship morning show to a high of 354,000 listeners each day.
Sean O’Rourke said: “For nearly seven years now it’s been my great privilege to sit in the best current affairs chair in Irish broadcasting. But nothing is forever. I’m going to be 65 in May. And that’ll be as good a time as any to end the great adventure of Today SOR. I’ve had an absolute ball – daily interviews, debates, elections, referendums, a memorable encounter with the Donald in Doonbeg… some great music and song, and the odd bit of hand-to-hand studio combat. All of it with a light dusting of fun, as we promised you at the very start. And all made possible by really talented, hard-working and loyal colleagues, to whom I’ll be forever grateful.”
Dee Forbes, Director-General, RTÉ said: “Sean O’Rourke’s contribution to Irish journalism, and to RTÉ, is hugely significant. From his start at the Connacht Tribune in 1973 to his latest years at the helm of our key morning current affairs radio programme, Sean has navigated and dissected the stories of the day with a rigour, tenacity, clarity and drive that is unmatched.. His love for radio and for news, his passion for sport and reading, meant that he was an enormously well-rounded presenter too; informed, interested, and interesting.”
Tom McGuire, Head of RTÉ Radio 1 said: “Sean O’Rourke has been at the core of the Radio 1 schedule throughout his broadcasting career. A peerless journalist, particularly in current affairs and news. To coin one of his own phrases, his move from News at One to Today with Sean O’Rourke proved that not only could he play ‘senior hurling’ but senior football as well. A true dual star.”
Sean will finish on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday 8th May 2020.
Before joining RTÉ, Sean also worked as a sports journalist and features writer for The Sunday Press and was the political correspondent for The Irish Press.
Sean O’Rourke was born in Portlaoise in 1955, the sixth son in a family of eight.
His father was a national school teacher, his mother a civil servant before their marriage. The family moved to Galway in 1961 to be close to the university, settling in Newcastle.
He attended national schools in Ratheniska, County Laois and the Claddagh, Galway before attending Colaiste Iognaid at second level. Sean spent a year as a junior reporter with the Connacht Tribune Group after sitting the Leaving Cert in 1973.
At NUI, Galway he completed a BA in English, History and Legal Science, graduating in 1977. After college, and an extensive involvement in student journalism, he joined The Sunday Press as a sports journalist before becoming a feature writer and then political columnist.
Sean first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features, working on the News at 1.30, News at 6.30 and This Week.
He was the Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week . In 1995, Sean became presenter of the News at One.
Since 2003, Sean has also presented The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. He has anchored Radio One’s general election results programmes since 1997.
Sean has also worked as occasional presenter for RTÉ Current Affairs programmes, Today Tonight and Prime Time, as well as covering South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 and the Papal Conclave 2005. He has made television documentaries about brain injuries, Irish peace-keeping in Lebanon, and the first term of President Mary McAleese.
Sean was Radio Journalist of the Year in 1997 and won PPI Awards for News Broadcaster of the year in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The News at One has been named PPI News Programme of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
He was presented with an NUI Galway Alumni Award for Arts in 2006 and was the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club.
In 2011, Sean was conferred with an honorary Doctorate by NUI Galway and is an honorary Professor in the University’s School of Journalism.
Sean is married to Caroline Murphy, a former broadcaster and organisational psychologist, from Malahide, Co. Dublin. They have two daughters and four sons born between 1986 and 1998. They live in Killiney, Co Dublin.