He is Ireland's best talk broadcaster by far. Fluent, intelligent, informed, focused, relaxed, his radio programme is a model of professional broadcasting.  All the more so since he curbed a tendency to over-talk, to show-off his erudition and to answer his own questions.


He was 60 on Tuesday 29 January and is likely to remain the country's primary broadcaster for perhaps another decade. Even as presenter of the Late Late Show.

He has suffered from the contrast between his stiff, awkward style on the Late Late compared with Gay Byrne's easy mastery of that genre. His celebrity susceptibility can be embarrassing – the air-kissing of celebrity women participants being an excruciating example at times. But he has maintained the Late Late franchise which, in itself, has been quite an achievement and there has been and is no obvious alternative for the role.

For someone burdened with degrees in chemical engineering from UCD and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, this is quite an achievement.

He was more at ease on current affairs television than he has ever been on the Late Late and current affairs television has been the worse without his continued involvement.š