Mark Cagney to leave Ireland AM after almost 20 years

Mark Cagney is to leave Ireland Am after almost 20 years at the helm of the popular breakfast show, Virgin Media Television has confirmed.

The Cork-born presenter played a leading role in the success of the show since it started in 1999.

“It has been one of the great privileges of my life, professionally and personally, to be part of this thing we call Ireland AM,” said Mr Cagney, who celebrated his 63rd birthday last month.

“To everyone who ever worked on, contributed to, and especially watched AM over the years my heartfelt thanks,” he added.

Director of content at Virgin Media Television, Bill Malone, described Mr Cagney as “a giant of Irish broadcasting” who had become a staple in viewers' homes each morning.

“He will be greatly missed by both viewers and colleagues alike and I wish him all the best for the future,” said Mr Malone.

Mr Cagney joined RTÉ in 1977 and was part of the original 2FM line-up, broadcasting on its first night on air.

During his time with 2FM, he presented a variety of shows including Night Train and the Drivetime show.

He joined 98FM in 1989 and remained with the station for nine years before moving Today FM in 1998 and then to TV3 to present the channel's breakfast show.

He won the TV Personality of the Year Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards in 2005.

Mr Cagney, whose first wife, Ann, died of a brain haemorrhage, married a former colleague, Audrey, who worked with him at 98FM.

He was devastated when Ann died – they met when he was 19 years old. Audrey was a great support when he was grieving and a relationship between the two developed.

Mr Cagney said he was approached by a friend in July 1999 who asked if he would like to be involved in the launch of commercial breakfast television in Ireland.

“Over the 20 years Ireland AM has become part of the Irish broadcasting landscape, an institution even, which has stitched itself into Irish daily life.," he said.

Every day I met someone new and I learned something new and I did it in the company of people I admired and respected. What more can anyone ask from a job?”

“It has been a joy and an honour and I've given it everything I've got. As they say in sporting circles – I've left it all out on the pitch. So now it's someone else's turn.”

Mr Cagney will step down as anchor of the show at the end of the month.

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