President Michael D. Higgins has paid tribute to former RTÉ CEO Joe Barry, who passed away on Wednesday.
r Barry, from Dunmanway, Co Cork, started his career in 1956 with RTÉ.
In 1992 he was appointed Director General, a position he held until 1997. He was then a member of the RTÉ Board for four years from 2000.
President Higgins said it was with great sadness that he learned of Mr Barry’s death.
The President described Mr Barry as “a respected pioneer and promoter of the importance of public service broadcasting in Ireland”.
“As Secretary of State for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, I have had the privilege of working with Joe on a regular basis and have greatly appreciated his enormous contribution over the years which has had so many highlights including hosting the Eurovision Contest and founding the Irish Film Board and the launch of RTÉ Radio’s 24-hour service in 1999 and Lyric FM,” said President Higgins.
“His invaluable leadership of the formation of TG4, then Teilifís na Gaeilge, in Baile na hAbhann in 1994 was a seminal moment in Irish public service broadcasting, bringing new energy, respect and creativity to the Irish language and creating jobs for a whole new one generation of Irish speakers who have made an important and stimulating contribution to Irish broadcasting.
“On behalf of Sabina and I, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Joe’s wife Aileen and his family, as well as all his friends and colleagues.
“Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasal.”
In a statement from RTÉ, Mr Barry was described as a dedicated civil servant “working to ensure that RTÉ reflects the lives of the people of Ireland”.
During his tenure, he opened RTÉ’s Cork Studios and oversaw the launch of RTÉ’s online services in 1996.
RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said: “We were deeply saddened by the death of former Director General Joe Barry, who served Radio Éireann and RTÉ with distinction and ambition.
“While I didn’t know Joe personally, I was strong in his legacy in promoting greater regional representation and employment through RTÉ, his tenacity in transforming our services to the 24-hour model we know today and his passion for aware of national public service broadcasting, especially in the face of increasing competition.
“He made a significant contribution to Irish life, both within RTÉ and in other roles in later years. Our thoughts are with his wife Aileen and family at this sad time.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/a-distinguished-pioneer-president-michael-d-higgins-pays-tribute-to-former-rte-director-general-joe-barry-41823064.html “A Distinguished Pioneer” – President Michael D. Higgins pays tribute to former RTÉ CEO Joe Barry