RTÉ today announced Claire Byrne as the new presenter for RTÉ Radio 1's flagship mid-morning 'Today' programme, starting next Monday.
Presenter Sarah McInerney has been filling in on the daily two-hour show since Sean O’Rourke retired in May, and there had been calls for the Galway presenter to retain the slot following a successful transition to the role.
RTÉ Radio 1 listeners will already be familiar with Laois native Claire Byrne as presenter of the station's News at One, as well as Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ One television. RTE also today confirmed that Claire Byrne Live will return to RTE One in September.
An IFTA TV Personality of The Year, Ms Byrne is widely regarded as one of the finest current affairs broadcasters in Ireland, Claire will bring her trademark sharp analysis and rigour to the Today programme as she pursues the main stories of the day.
Head of RTÉ Radio 1, Peter Woods, said in the statement, "I'd also like to thank Sarah McInerney for her considerable input, on this station, since last May and am looking forward to continuing working with her."
Details of McInerney's next role will be confirmed in the coming weeks as RTÉ will announce its autumn schedule on Wednesday, August 26.
Since the announcement earlier today, both Byrne and McInerney have been trending on social media site Twitter with a mixed reaction to the news:
Delighted for Claire Byrne, who is a world class broadcaster and brilliant woman. Excited to see what that other fantastic broadcaster Sarah McInerney does next. Have really enjoyed listening to her since Sean O'Rourke left.— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) August 19, 2020
Nothing against Claire Byrne but I think thought Sarah McInerney was great replacement for O'Rourke. There's not many who question interviewes as robustly which is well needed. https://t.co/0z4QjbOOHP— Eoin Dineen (@Eoin_Dineen) August 19, 2020
I think Claire Byrne is brilliant but it’s just depressing that RTÉ had a fresh voice as talented as Sarah McInerney absolutely lighting it up — and to effectively universal acclaim — and yet still opted to do their usual thing.— Gavan Casey (@GavanCasey) August 19, 2020
Claire Byrne is a superb journalist and broadcaster, and will do a fine job, but Sarah McInerney had made that slot her own, becoming a worthy successor to Sean O'Rourke. Disappointing decision, and that's not meant as a knock on Claire Byrne. https://t.co/bHMufUCPg5— Donal O'Keeffe (@Donal_OKeeffe) August 19, 2020
I’m a big fan of fellow Laoisonian Claire Byrne, but I thought @SarahAMcInerney was a brilliant breath of fresh air in this slot. I hope RTE have big plans for her as she’s great! https://t.co/laDy2jxFXZ— rorymcevoy (@rorymcevoy) August 19, 2020
Putting aside that Sarah McInerney is the best interviewer on radio atm, one of RTÉ's main problems is that they keep reusing presenters and seem reluctant to hire new talent. Claire Byrne is more than capable but RTÉ need new faces/voices if they want more viewers/listeners https://t.co/rbFKmgzQA1— Seán Carolan (@SeanOCearbhlain) August 19, 2020
Social media and UGC awash with comments comparing Sarah McInerney and Claire Byrne. Both are excellent current affairs presenters. It is not a question of one or the other. RTÉ has space for both of them in their schedules— Press Ombudsman Irl (@PressOmb_Irl) August 19, 2020
I’ve loved listening to @SarahAMcInerney she’s been a breath of fresh air. Genuinely sorry she’s no longer doing the show - no disrespect intended to Claire Byrne who does a superb job on @ClaireByrneLive #RTE very lucky to have brilliant female broadcasters.— Trish (@polyoldgirl79) August 19, 2020
Very chuffed for Claire Byrne, who is not only a brilliant journalist but a lovely and genuine person. Sarah McInerney has been excellent over the past few months. RTÉ is lucky to have these two talented women. Looking forward to listening to Claire when we both start new jobs! https://t.co/cmrcf55cLN— Rodney Edwards (@rodneyedwards) August 19, 2020
Disappointing that Sarah Mcinerney hasn't gotten the 10-12 am radio slot. Seemed a natural and wonderfully incisive interviewer. Great radio voice and a Galway accent too. What more could you want?— Fergal Lenehan (@FergalLenehan) August 19, 2020
Sarah McInerney must be scratching her head wondering how much more she has to do to nail down a spot as a current affairs anchor. She has been superb over the last while. I always enjoyed Seán O'Rourke but I went out of my way to listen to her any chance I got.— Duncan Casey (@BigDunc123) August 19, 2020