RTÉ has today learned of the sad passing of former Director General of RTÉ, Tom Hardiman (1968 – 1975) who passed away last night, Saturday 2nd May.
Tom commenced his career with the then Radio éireann following his graduation from UCD in 1952, subsequently moving to RTÉ television. He was the engineer in charge of the inaugural broadcast of Telefís éireann from the Gresham Hotel in 1961 and advanced rapidly through technical and programme management positions to become Director General of RTÉ at the age of 39 in 1968. His tenure included the initial period of turmoil in Northern Ireland and he presided over a radical transformation of radio broadcasting in Ireland, including the launch of Raidío na Gaeltachta on Easter Sunday 1972.
Following his departure from RTÉ in 1975, he became Chair of the National Board for Science and Technology and President of the Confederation of Irish Industry, the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. He was also active on the National Planning Board and the Telecommunications Review Group, and chaired the Commission on Technological Education. He was the first Chancellor of Dublin City University and was a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
He was President of the International Institute of Communications in London, a member of CERD, the EU Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Brussels, Chairman of the External Relations Committee of UNICE in Brussels and Chairman of the Irish Institute for European Affairs in Louvain. He was a Board Member of the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe in Paris, a Supervisory Board Member of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Co-operation in Tokyo, Deputy Chairman of the EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table in Brussels and in Tokyo, and a Governor of the Asia Europe Foundation in Singapore.
RTÉ Director General, Dee Forbes said: “We were greatly saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Tom Hardiman who served Radio Éireann and RTÉ with such distinction, becoming the third Director General of the organisation at such a young age. While I didn’t know Tom personally, I was aware of his significant contribution to the early development of RTE, his strong public service ethic and his belief in the editorial independence of the national broadcaster, something he defended vigorously throughout his time as Director General. Tom made significant contributions to Irish industry, commerce, finance, education, science, public service and cultural life in a career spanning seven decades and has left an impressive legacy, both within and beyond RTÉ. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this sad time.”
Tom is survived by his wife, Rosaleen Thornton, his three daughters and his two sons.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.