Popular forecaster Gerald ‘The Winking Weatherman’ Fleming is finally calling it a day and retiring after nearly 40 years in the business.
After 32 years on television and 37 years with Met Éireann, Mr Fleming will head into retirement at the end of the year.
In a nation undoubtedly obsessed with the weather, generations of Irish people checked in with Gerald to see how much rain they had to endure for the week, but also for his signature wink when signing off with: “That’s it from me, bye bye.”
However, while you can take the man out of the weather business, you can’t take the weather out of the man.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke, Mr Fleming said he would still be involved in meteorology, but just not as his day job.
“I’m retiring from Met Éireann, but not meteorology hopefully,” he said. “I still have an interest in it and I’m doing a lot of activity internationally.
“The Monday to Friday, nine to five commitment is one that I’m going to step away from.
“Because I’ve reached this stage, happily, I am in good health and I’ve plenty of energy and plenty of interest. Indeed, there are parts of my professional life and other parts of life I’d like to enjoy.
“Our three children are grown up and earning their own corn at this stage, so it’s time to enjoy the other things in life. I have lots of other things I’d like to do — I could be busier this time next year.”
Mr Fleming is currently involved in work for the World Meteorological Organisation and is working on a three-year project with the group.
“I’ll keep that commitment,” he said. “At the moment I have to fit that work in around my every-day job; now it’ll be more of my focus. I’ve picked up some value in my 37 years and I hope I can pass it on to other countries where meteorology isn’t as well-developed.”
As for the day job, he said most of all he would miss those he shared a career with.
“I will miss my colleagues; the office is small, so we’re all close,” he said.
On the bigger issues of climate change and its effect on our weather, Mr Fleming said it was important that scientists focus on science and not what should be done.
“We’re the scientists; our job is to do the science,” he said. “It’s important for us to stay out of the argument about what should be done.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved