Seán Creedon gets to ‘Talk to Joe’ about his life and career as he begins his 23rd year as presenter of the phenomenally popular radio programme Liveline.
‘Talk to Joe’ has become a catchphrase in Ireland as over 360,000 people tune into the Liveline programme on RTé Radio One at 1.45pm five days a week, some to contribute and others to listen to people talk about their problems and grievances.
In the past that time slot was used for sponsored programmes on Radio éireann and I was going to say that Liveline needs no sponsor, but RTé need money and Liveline has been sponsored in recent years. The most recent sponsor is Kia.
However, that sponsorship does not prevent the presenter Joe Duffy from being fair to everybody who calls Liveline. He will be back in action early this month and on January 27th. Joe will celebrate his 65th birthday as he begins his 23rd year as presenter of the popular radio programme.
Sixty-five used to be the traditional retirement age, but more and more people are working longer and, as he is a self-employed contractor, Joe will not be forced to hang up his microphone – he can work on as long as RTé want him to stay.
‘‘I gave up a pensionable job in the Probation Service in 1988 to join RTé as a trainee producer on a short-term contract. I have a contract until 2023, and I fully intend to honour it. I was never offered a staff job in RTé,’’ said Joe.
From his accent it’s obvious that Joe is a Dubliner, but like many Dubs he has connections outside The Pale. His paternal grandfather John Joseph Duffy was a house painter from Ballymahon, in County Longford, and he can trace relations in Athlone and Knockcroghery, County Roscommon, on his mother’s side.
Joe’s father, Jimmy, was born in a tenement building in Church Street, not far from O’Connell Street. His mother Mabel (Murphy) is not sure exactly where her family were living when she was born, but it may have been York Street, near St. Stephen’s Green. Mabel’s first child James was born in the Rotunda Hospital, but the other five children were all born at home, which in Joe’s case was Mountjoy Place, near Summerhill Bus Garage.