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12th Mar 2024

Tributes flood in for Charlie Bird after broadcasting legend dies

Simon Kelly

Charlie Bird tributes

RIP Charlie.

Tributes have began to flow in since it was announced that Charlie Bird has passed away at the age of 74, after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

RTÉ News, who Mr. Bird worked for during his career, report that he passed away on Monday, 11 March.

During his 40-year career with the national broadcaster, Mr. Bird reported on some of the most major stories in Ireland and internationally, such as the Stardust fire, the Northern Ireland peace process, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami.

Tributes flood in for Charlie Bird after broadcasting legend dies

Ryan Tubridy post a picture of himself and Charlie at the top of Croagh Patrick, celebrating the ‘Climb with Charlie’ initiative which raised millions for charity.

In his post, the ex-Late Late Show presenter said: “A joyful memory of Charlie Bird who has sadly died. I will never forget his fortitude, forbearance and fearlessness in the face of a cruel illness.

“He raised awareness and funding for charities that needed it most. Condolences to his beloved Claire and his daughters, Orla and Nessa. Rest in peace Charlie and thank you for bringing us to the top of the mountain where perspective reigns supreme.”

His former colleague, RTÉ reported Ingrid Miley was one of the first to pay tribute, saying: “So sorry to hear of the passing of my former colleague Charlie Bird.

“To the end, in his darkest days, he worked to help others and raise awareness of a terrible disease. My sincere condolences to his beloved Claire and Tiger, and all his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

Another former colleague of his, Nationwide presenter Ann Cassin, said: “So sorry to hear of this sad news. Charlie was a leading light in journalism, a great colleague and later bore his illness with incredible dignity. RIP.”

Primetime presenter Fran McNulty said: “Charlie Bird was a wonderful man, he was utterly decent. We sat side by side in the newsroom for some years, Charlie was always fun & generous. His hunger & passion as a journalist was inspiring. Remembering the day we climbed the reek R.I.P Charlie.”

Tanaiste Micháel Martin also paid tribute to Charlie, releasing a statement saying:

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charlie Bird, who inspired so many with the courage, generosity of spirit and dignity he faced his battle with Motor neurone disease.

As a journalist and broadcaster for RTÉ Charlie had few peers, memorably covering national and international events such as the Peace Process, the September 11 attacks on New York, the Gulf War, and the National Irish Bank scandal.

Personable and engaging, Charlie always had the public interest at heart. He represented public service broadcasting in Ireland at its very best.

Over the past few years, Charlie captured the public imagination, nurturing a true spirit of solidarity through his Croagh Patrick ‘Climb With Charlie’.

His message of generosity, friendship, and simply looking out for each other will long be remembered.

My sincere condolences to his wife Claire, children, wider family, and many friends and colleagues.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik also paid tribute: “Such sad news. Charlie Bird was an inspirational person, a journalist of great integrity who faced his illness with immense courage. Every sympathy with his family and friends.”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste released a statement, reading:

On behalf of all the citizens of Dublin, I would like to express my sincere condolences to Charlie’s family and his very many friends and former colleagues on his passing overnight. 

This is terribly sad news that we are all waking up to this morning, and I know the people of Dublin are thinking of Claire & his family. 

For many people across the city, and indeed the country, Charlie Bird was the man on their TV screen who kept them up to date with many of the biggest news stories of the last 40 years. 

His diagnosis with motor neurone disease was a shock, but he bore his illness extremely bravely. There was no way he was going to retreat into his home and go quietly. Charlie made sure to squeeze every last drop out of life and was courageously campaigning right up to the end and extending the hand of friendship to everyone he met along the way. 

I’ve had the absolute honour and privilege of getting to know Charlie since I became Lord Mayor of Dublin. From walking elephants around Dublin together in aid of the Samaritans to working together on the Lord Mayor’s Charity Ball of which IMNDA is one of the beneficiaries. 

I last met Charlie when he came to the Mansion House to take part in my own ‘Always Kind’ campaign. This is dedicated to highlighting exceptionally kind individuals across our city and I can think of no better person to personify this virtue.

I will be opening a Book of Condolences for Charlie at the Mansion House from today, 12th March and will announce the details of the online Book of Condolences in due course. 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

RTÉ reporter Samantha Libreri paid tribute to her “mentor” on Twitter this morning: “My mentor and my friend. I learned so much from Charlie Bird and was so lucky to have his support and friendship. I’ve never met anyone with his passion, energy and excitement for a story. I’ll miss him so much but carry his words and wisdom with me every day that I do my job.”

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