Updated February 13th 2003

Fionnuala Sweeney, Reporter CNN Atlanta and London

Jesus, but it does not seem like 17 years since I worked with Fionnuala Sweeny. I am so pleased for her success. She entered our newsroom in 1986, determined to be newsreader, and she achieved that - and so much more. It's very strange when you start your life in the broadcast industry, then leave it, and in my case, travel to the other side of the world, and then to see your friends doing so well so far on into our lives. With the advent of the internet I have been able to see this. The broadcast industry is kinda like being in the theatre, or the movies. Once you become a public figure, everyone wants a bit of you. I left the industry because I was really too shy. My friends laugh when I tell them that, but it's true!

Fionnuala Sweeney works for CNN in both Atlanta and London. She is one of their prized anchors, and is known globally. To the best of my knowledge she started her career on the station I worked on, Energy 103. I remember when Sybil Fennel, head of News, took her on. She sounded nervous on the air but Sybil saw something in her, and quickly escalated her to a position on the breakfast show, teamed with Bob Gallico and Pat Courtenay. If you want to hear clips from that click on the MEDIA PAGE icon below and click the ENERGY 103 link.

I used to go partying with people like Teena Gates, Gary Hamill, and a gang of the newsreaders from the various pirates around that the time - and we did have a party at Fionnuala's House in Leeson Park. We were all in our 20's and lived in the moment. We had a ball. We all got shit-faced but always made it to work the next day because we were loyal - hell, we were obsessed!

Energy 103 was part of the Nova enterprise that spawned so many talents and one of them is obviously Fionnuala, who then called herself Lisa Moore. Other Nova success stories include Bob Gallico (Irelandlivetelevision), Anne Cassin (RTE News Anchor), John Kenny (RTE Sports Presenter), Andrew Hanlon (TV3 Ireland Head of News), David Harvey (Crimeline Presenter on RTE and owner of Country Music Radio in Dublin), Gareth O'Callaghan (RTE 2FM Broadcaster), Sean McCarthy (Spin1038 "The Story" Newsreader, Dublin), Chris Barry (Ex-98FM broadcaster), Teena Gates (Newsreader 98FM), Colm Hays (FM104 Breakfast show presenter), Brian Jennings (RTE Radio 1 Newsreader), Jason Mayne (FM104 Presenter), Shane McGowan (2FM Newsreader), Declan Meehan (Eastcoast Radio Presenter), Greg Gaughran
(Eastcoast Radio Presenter). This list could go on forever, so we'll stop here.

CNN's interpretation of Fionnuala
Fionnuala Sweeney is the London based anchor of the evening European focused news programme ‘World News Europe’ and presenter of CNN International’s weekly cultural magazine programme ‘Inside Europe’.

In September 1997, Sweeney was the launch anchor on ‘CNN This Morning’, the network’s European breakfast news programme produced from London until late January 2002. Previously, Sweeney was an anchor in London and Atlanta for ‘World News’ where she covered major stories including the humanitarian crisis in Zaire, the Docklands Bomb in London, the Bosnian conflict, the British elections and the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. Sweeney covered the Israeli elections for CNN in February 2001 as a correspondent.

Sweeney came to Atlanta from Ireland where she worked for RTE as a radio and television news reporter and newscaster from 1988 to 1993. In 1993, she was selected to present the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of RTE, broadcast live to 350 million people in three languages. A native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sweeney has a higher diploma in Education and a bachelor degree in English and History from the University College, Dublin.

Fionnuala Sweeney presents The Eurovision Song Contest from Ireland to an audience of 350 million viewers in 1993
I am somewhat moved by the passage of time that has spiralled these people, and the passage of space between me in Australia, and them, that has meant I have not seen their growth from their mid-twenties. Dublin was part of a country that was classed as a third world country in the 80's - did you know that? Well, it was. I went back to Dublin in 2001 and saw that the city, and country - had grown up - so had these people - my friends and colleagues from those heady days of Irish pirate radio.



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