Leading Irish journalist and campaigner Charlie Bird dies

Tributes have poured in for the veteran broadcaster who died aged 74
Tributes have poured in for the veteran broadcaster who died aged 74 Copyright Euronews
By Euronews
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The former news correspondent was the primary contact between the Provisional IRA and Ireland's public broadcaster for much of the 1990s.

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Charlie Bird, one of Ireland's most respected journalists, passed away on Monday after a long battle with motor neurone disease. 

During his 40-year career at national broadcaster RTÉ, Bird covered pivotal stories in Ireland and abroad including the 9/11 terror attacks and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Bird was at the fore of the service's coverage of the Northern Ireland peace process and was selected by the nationalist paramilitary group, the Provisional IRA, as its primary media contact in the Republic.

In a tribute, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, described Bird as a "truly remarkable man" and "one of the outstanding journalists of his generation".

Micheál Martin, Ireland's Tánaiste or deputy prime minister, said the former correspondent "inspired so many with the courage, generosity of spirit and dignity he faced in his battle with motor neurone disease".

Bird retired from RTÉ in 2012 as Chief News Correspondent and publically announced his diagnosis in October 2021. He spent his final years raising awareness of the disease and campaigning for Irish charities. 

Motor neurone disease affects motor nerves or motor neurons in the body, causing them to degenerate and the muscles to become weaker. It generally leads to paralysis.

On April 2, 2022, thousands of people participated in the 'Climb with Charlie' campaign, scaling peaks in Ireland and abroad in solidarity with Bird, who famously made a personal pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick, a mountain in the west of Ireland with a height of nearly 800 metres.

The event raised €3.4 million for several charities, including the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association

The veteran presenter, who died aged 74, is survived by his wife Claire and two daughters.

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