RTÉ News and Current Affairs

RTÉ News and Current Affairs (Irish: Nuacht agus Cúrsaí Reatha RTÉ), is the national news service provided by Irish public broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Its services include local, national, European and international news, investigative journalism and current affaris programming for RTÉ television, radio, online, podcasts, on-demand and for independent Irish language public broadcateer TG4. It is, by far, the largest and most popular news source in Ireland – with 77% of the Irish public regarding it as their main source of both Irish and international news.[2] It broadcasts in English, Irish and Irish Sign Language. The organisation is also a source of commentary on current affairs. The division is based at the RTÉ Television Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin; however, the station also operates regional bureaux across Ireland and the world.

RTÉ News
Independent Business Division (IBD) of RTÉ
Area served
Specific services for Ireland including Northern Ireland
Key people
Jon Williams (Managing Director)[1]
ServicesRadio and television broadcasts


Early history

On 1 January 1926, 2RN, Ireland's first radio station, began broadcasting. Its first advertised news bulletin was put out on 24 May 1926. Nine months later, on 26 February 1927, the station broadcast its first daily news report.[3]

During the Second World War, referred to in Ireland as The Emergency, media censorship of radio broadcasts (under the provisions of the Emergency Powers Act 1939) affected news bulletins. Before any news bulletin was broadcast, the script of the bulletin was read over the phone to Head of the Government Information Bureau, Frank Gallagher. Censorship under the Act was lifted on 11 May 1945.[4]


On 31 December 1961 Ireland's first national television station, Telefís Éireann, was officially launched. A new Television Complex was built at Donnybrook in Dublin and the news service was the first to move in. Charles Mitchel read the first television news bulletin, at 6:00 pm on 1 January 1962. Andy O'Mahony was the station's other chief newsreader in the early days of the new service. The new studios were still being completed, so construction work was heard during news bulletins.[5] Later on Telefís Éireann's first full day of broadcasting Broadsheet made its debut. This programme provided a more detailed analysis of topical matters and current affairs. There was a mixture of incisive and light-hearted items, unscripted studio interviews and filmed reports. Presented by John O'Donoghue, Brian Cleeve and Brian Farrell, some of these men would continue broadcasting with the station until the new century. Telefís Éireann's first full day also saw the first broadcast of the Nine O'Clock News, a half-hour bulletin including news, newsview, weather, and sports results.

Broadsheet was broadcast for the last time in 1964. It was replaced by Frank Hall's Newsbeat, a news and current affairs programme that focused more on the light-hearted stories from around the country.

In 1966 Maurice O'Doherty joined the newsroom as a newsreader. Later that same year the station's new flagship news programme was broadcast for the first time. Seven Days had a production team with people such as Eoghan Harris, Brian Cleeve, Brian Farrell, and John O'Donoghue. In 1967 the programme merged with another, Division, and became 7 days.[6]

1970s & 1980s

When Radio Éireann and Telefís Éireann merged, RTÉ News was expanded, providing coverage to new stations RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio 2.[7]

In the 1970s News moved from the original Black and White picture format to color on television.

In the early 1980s, in the space of two years, there were three general elections. This demanded a larger schedule of current affairs. New programmes Morning Ireland and Today Tonight were launched.[8]

The current set of TV News programmes began in 1988, as RTÉ re-aligned their programmes. Seán Duignan and Eileen Dunne were the first presenters of Six-One, which began in October 1988[9]

1990s & 2000s

In 1991, RTÉ News appointed its first legal affairs correspondent, Kieron Wood.[10] Also in the 1990s, the first Washington, D.C. correspondent Mark Little was appointed, and Teilifís na Gaeilge, RTÉ lyric fm and RTÉ.ie were established.[11] In 1992 RTÉ launched its flagship current affairs programme Prime Time replacing Today Tonight. Other notable current affairs programmes from the 1990s include The Week in Politics & Oireachtas Report

Much of RTÉ's News output remained the same throughout the start of the 21st Century. In 2003 RTÉ's news department was merged with its Current Affairs department to form RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Also in September 2003, all RTÉ news reports in English on all networks were rebranded to RTÉ News, ending the separate branding of News 2 and 2FM News.[12] In December 2008, RTÉ News moved out of their usual studio 3[13] in the Television Centre at Donnybrook and moved into a temporary studio while work was carried out in studio 3 for the relaunch. The new look was unveiled at the One O'Clock news programme on Monday 9 February 2009.[14] Due to RTÉ cutbacks, instead of using satellite, reporters on foreign assignments were asked to send reports by internet link. RTÉ's Beijing bureau was closed in June 2009.[15] 2009 brought major changes the current affairs schedule with the axing of the long-running Questions and Answers which was replaced by The Frontline.


The 2010s opened with what has since been commemorated as "one of the most memorable moments of Irish television" being shown on RTÉ's televised news bulletins; amid a deep freeze on 8 January 2010, RTÉ showed one male individual slipping and sliding down the street in Dublin.[16]

On 24 October 2012, RTÉ News & Current Affairs announced some major changes to its output from 2013.[17] Prime Time relaunched with a larger studio and additional presenters Claire Byrne and George Lee. The Frontline was also brought under the Prime Time brand with the programme now airing 3 times a week. In 2012, RTÉ announced it was moving some of its regional newsrooms to local Institute of Technology as a cost saving arrangement. The affected areas are Sligo, Dundalk, Galway, Athlone and Waterford. RTÉ will retain the Cork and Limerick bureaux.[18]

In January 2013, RTÉ launched a new morning news programme Morning Edition which airs weekdays between 09:00–11:00 on RTÉ One and RTÉ News Now. The Week in Politics now airs twice every Sunday premiering live at 12:00 and repeated again at its usual late-night slot. Morning Ireland relaunched in 2013 in a new studio and continues to air both on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ News Now. RTÉ News will continue its interactivity with a revamped news app service for smartphones, tablets and wireless live news feed.

RTÉ News and Current Affairs currently produces over 1,000 hours of television programming and 2,000 hours of radio programming a year.[2]

On Saturday 26 April 2014, RTÉ News got a new look for all of its news programmes across RTÉ Television, with a tweaked logo, new opening & closing titles, new graphics, new backdrop in Studio 3 and a new arrangement of the 9 February 2009 news music. The new look was unveiled at the Six One news bulletin.[19]

On Monday, 22 September 2014, RTÉ News on Two was dropped. It was replaced two new early evening bulletins called News Feed at 18:55 and 19:55. In January 2017 News Feed was also dropped. RTÉ2 does not provide any news service outside the children's programme News2Day.

On Monday, 12 January 2015, RTÉ dropped the Monday night edition of Prime Time replaced by Claire Byrne Live.

In the summer of 2018, RTE announced their plan to refurbish and overhaul their news output in early 2019. RTE confirmed that they would be putting out to tender a contract worth close to €1.7 million to refurbish and renovate their news studio "Studio 3" at RTE Television Centre in Dublin. The overhaul will see the studio being redesigned, with a smaller news desk area and a larger second presentation area, along with new lighting, graphics, music and presentation.[20][21]

On Saturday 15th December 2018, RTE News moved out of Studio 3 into a temporary studio (Studio 2) at the television center. Work then commenced on refurbishing and overhauling Studio 3. RTE confirmed the planned relaunch of RTE News will take place in mid to late January 2019.[22]

The refurbished Studio 3 of RTÉ is expected to be relaunched on Monday 28th January 2019, with the Six-One News being the first broadcast in the newly refurbished studio.

January 2019 relaunch

RTÉ News released information on Monday 28th January 2019 about the new look and the work involved:

"Today sees the unveiling of a brand new look for RTÉ News after a major refurbishment and technical upgrade of our main News studio. Studio 3 is the busiest television studio in Ireland, broadcasting over 1,700 news bulletins and programmes each year. This is the first refurbishment of the busy studio in ten years and it will enhance RTÉ's storytelling capabilities as it reports on Ireland and the wider world.

The upgraded studio features a new video wall, 24 m long and 3 m high, spanning three sides of the studio. It utilizes LED technology and a lighting system which is 70% more energy efficient. The refurbishment has seen the introduction of new automated HD cameras, a new set design, additional presentation areas and changed opening graphics for the main news bulletins. The replacement of the old video wall has increased studio floor space by 25%.

The new look RTÉ News also sees a reworking of the familiar RTÉ News theme music by Irish composer Ronan Hardiman, recorded by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

The work on Studio 3 cost €1.4 million and was financed as a major capital investment project by RTÉ directly from the proceeds of RTÉ's land sale. The last major renovation was ten years ago in 2009 at a cost of 1.3 million and during its life span was used to broadcast over 15,000 programmes.

RTÉ News & Current Affairs Managing Director, Jon Williams said: "The new studio and design builds on the themes that have made RTÉ Ireland's number one choice for TV News – bringing our audiences stories from across the world and around the corner. I'm particularly thrilled that "O'Donnell Abú" will again herald the news of the day – and grateful to the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra for their interpretation of an iconic piece of music. The star of the news is the news – and I’m delighted that the audiences to RTÉ News will reap a dividend from last year's land sale."

RTÉ's main news studio is home to the Six One News, Nine O'Clock News, One O'Clock News, News with Signing, news2day for young people, The Week in Politics, Leaders Questions, Breaking News Specials, Budget coverage, Referendum results coverage, and other special events live programme coverage such as national commemorations.

The project uses a combination of in-house RTÉ and outside expertise including Irish companies Ion, BVS, W Display, Piranha Bar and NoHo, along with international suppliers Vinten, Lightwell and Absen. The new graphics and set were designed by RTE’s Graphics and Design teams.

The new studio will broadcast live for the first time for tonight's (Monday's) RTÉ Six One News."


RTÉ News and Current Affairs is responsible for all the news bulletins on RTÉ One, TG4, RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ lyric fm, RTE News Now, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and RTÉ Europe. The division also provides written news updates on RTÉ's teletext service, Aertel, RTÉ Mobile and RTÉ.ie.[23] General news bulletins on TV and radio are usually branded as RTÉ News.

RTÉ News faces competition from within Ireland and abroad. For local news Virgin Media News provides competition in the television sector; as do Newstalk, Today FM and 4fm in the radio sector. As Ireland is a predominantly English-speaking nation, international news channels (CNBC Europe, CNN International, EuroNews, France 24, BBC News, Sky News, etc.) compete with RTÉ with regards television news coverage of international events. Despite this competition, however, RTÉ News remains the most popular source of news in Ireland.

Television programmes

RTÉ News and Current Affairs television programmes include:

Special News Programmes

The department also broadcasts numerous special programmes throughout the year. RTÉ has comprehensively covered every general & local election in Ireland since it was established. RTÉ has also covered some international elections such as elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly and Westminster as well as the US Presidential Election. Each year the Budget is covered with the budget delivery & analysis given on RTÉ One with RTÉ Two covering the live budget debate from Dáil Éireann. On occasion RTÉ may also provide rolling news coverage on an important developing news story such as on 9/11, the London Bombings of 2005 & events in Ireland such as the Dublin riots of 2006. Schedules are usually interrupted on RTÉ One to provide details of breaking stories.


On RTÉ One

On TG4

Irish Sign Language
  • RTÉ News with Signing
  • Cinnlinte Nuachta until 2009.

Weather forecasts

Weather forecasts are provided by Met Éireann developed and presented largely by a team of meteorologists and specially trained weather presenters. The first televised weather forecast occurred on December 31st, 1961.

RTÉ Weather provides regional, national, European and world weather reports. Special weather reports occur during significant weather events and specialist reports during the European ski season and reports for warmer climates during the winter season. Weather reports are in Irish, Irish Sign Language, and English.

Weather reports are also supplied for radio, online and on the RTÉ Player.


RTÉ News and Current Affairs radio programmes include:



Launched in May 1996; RTÉ News content is also available worldwide on the internet at rté.ie/news. The website provides news content in visual, audio and written formats. Users have the opportunity to stream previous news broadcasts from both TV and radio. Archived material is available through RTÉ Archive. Content is also made available through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. RTÉ News also produces an app which features breaking news content among other news content.

RTÉ News Now

Since 12 June 2008, RTÉ News has been served by RTÉ News Now. The channel airs commercial-free 24 hours a day with the latest live news. The station was initially made available on mobile phones and online at rte.ie/news. The channel broadcast in the Irish, English and ISL languages. The channel is also available on Saorview (channel 6), Sky channel 578 eir channel 200 virgin media channel 200, mobile phone service providers such as O2 Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and Android. The channel also provides a free service to users of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The channel was available on train services within Dublin city and surrounding regions under a special agreement between Irish Rail, Transvision and RTÉ.[25] Previously, Sky News provided such a service.


RTÉ have studios and offices in the following locations:[26]


Notable staff past and present

Eileen DunneRay KennedyCaitriona Perry
Eileen WhelanKeelin ShanleySharon Tobin
Vivienne TraynorBrian JenningsSharon Ni Bheolain

Nuacht RTÉ newsreaders include:



  • John Kilrane (Dublin Correspondent)

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