This Much I Know: Maura Derrane, broadcaster

"I fell into broadcasting by chance. Growing up in rural Ireland in the 70s and 80s, careers in television weren’t exactly on our radar."
This Much I Know: Maura Derrane, broadcaster

I fell into broadcasting by chance.

Growing up in rural Ireland in the 70s and 80s, careers in television weren’t exactly on our radar.

I was the eldest of four girls. Our father was very strict so we didn’t mix with other children very much and as a result I was a rather quiet, shy child. I made up for it by the time I reached secondary school.

I am a total believer in fate and my favourite saying is that what’s for you won’t pass you by.

After school, I went into marketing. When I was working in Galway’s Eyre Square Centre, organising a maritime show, I met RTÉ’s western correspondent Jim Fahy, an avid sailor. For some reason, he told me about a researcher job coming up in RTÉ Galway.

After I’d done three years behind the scenes, it was Jim again who encouraged me to try presenting. I will never forget my first stint going live. It was with Marty [Whelan] and Mary [Kennedy], on ‘Open House’ as a regional contributor. I nearly got sick with nerves before we went on air and I was sweating all over afterwards.

Since then, I’ve worked in news, as a crime reporter - I went back to college to study law at night - and on many live daily shows.

My biggest skill, if you can call it that, is a natural nosiness. I have no problem asking people anything at all. But I would rather be in front of a camera than in front of actual people. I have no fear of a camera, but put me in front of an audience and I get nervous.

I met my husband John Deasy at a Fine Gael drinks party in 2002. I was ligging as a hack and just started talking to him… The biggest challenge in life so far has been raising a child. I constantly wonder ‘am I doing it right?’ when it comes to bringing up our son Cal.

I commute from our Dungarvan home to RTÉ Cork for ‘Today’. The most important thing in my job is to listen to our guests. It’s no use having a long list of questions. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, I do feel shows like ours really are providing a public service, in the real sense of the words.

I hate Twitter but I’m OK with Instagram.

I think talent is so much more important than ambition. For someone like me, who came up through the ranks before social media, I find it very odd how many people want to be famous for the sake of it. People are always telling me they’d love my job, because they ‘really want to be on TV’. I don’t get that.

I’m not a worrier. That’s why I’m able to be in a job like this, which, let’s face it, doesn’t have a lot of security.

I’m getting better at compartmentalising my life. I used to be completely work focused but I’m mellowing.

I’m not the most athletic person, I just try and chill out when I’m not working. Although I’ve taken up hula hooping again. It appeals to my childish nature and is surprisingly good for the head.

My biggest fault is that I’m full on. And, I have too many things in my mind at once, which makes it hard for me to sleep.

The trait I most admire in others is directness. I like people who are straight up and who tell it like it is.

I hate the mornings. I could stay up all night.

If I could be reborn as someone else for a day I’d be some kind of medic, I’ve a real interest in science and medicine.

The thing that irritates me most about others is dishonesty.

I do believe in an afterlife. I certainly have a religious belief.

My idea of bliss is having a massage - it is my one big treat. I feel renewed afterwards.

So far, life has taught me the importance of being more patient and that we can never predict what’s around the corner, so what’s the point in worrying?

Maura Derrane presents Today with Maura and Dáithí on RTÉ One at 3.30 pm every Monday to Friday.

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