By Sean Moriarty
Tributes have been pouring in for legendary Radio Kerry broadcaster Séan Hurley (70) who passed away suddenly on Tuesday.
Mr Hurley was ‘Radio Kerry’s man in Killarney’ and worked for the station since it opened in July 1990. Prior to that he worked for the pirate stations Kingdom 102 which was based in New Street and South West Radio on the Cork Road.
He presented Radio Kerry’s ‘Kerrywide’, a collection of stories, songs, music and poems, from all parts of the county, every Sunday night.
The Tralee native but Killarney resident walked everywhere in town and was a regular sight on the streets of Killarney. He was never off duty; his recording equipment was always in hand, and supplied breaking news to the county broadcaster as he had a canny knack of being in the right place at the right time.
His dedication to Radio Kerry went beyond broadcasting and was known to arrive to work in the early hours of the morning preparing studios for the arrival of special guests.
Séan and his colleague Dermot Moriarty shared Radio Kerry’s Killarney studio.
“It would be fair to call him the manager and caretaker of the Killarney studio even if that was not an official title,” Dermot said. “His dedication was unreal.”
Dermot said it was devastated to learn of the news just before he went on air Tuesday night.
“Radio was his life and his life was radio,” Dermot told the Killarney Advertiser. “I went to work on Tuesday night, I sat in the chair and Séan was the last man to sit in it. I unplugged his headset and plugged in my own, all his notes from Sunday night were on the desk – he left Sunday with the full intention of coming back to work.”
Politician Michael Healy-Rae was a personal friend of Séan’s.
“He had such a friendly way about him, he is what you call genuine,” the Kilgarvan TD told the Killarney Advertiser. “I extend my sympathies to his family, his Radio Kerry family and his Kerry family, because each and every one of us owned a piece of Séan.”
He was also an accomplished musician and played in several two-piece bands on the pub scene in Killarney.
Séan was the winner of a PPI Radio Award for his work, and has been nominated on numerous occasions for other awards including on Monday of this week when he was shortlisted for this year’s IMRO Radio Awards for his ‘Kerrywide’ programme.
“Séan was a much loved colleague and friend to everyone in Radio Kerry,” a Radio Kerry statement said. “The Board of Radio Kerry and all staff wish to extend their sympathies to all his family at this time. His contribution to Radio Kerry and communities throughout Kerry is immeasurable.”
In accordance with Government and HSE guidelines and in the interest of public health a private funeral will take place for Séan in St Mary’s Cathedral. His Requiem Mass will be live streamed on killarneyparish.com at 12.30pm tomorrow (Saturday). Burial will take place in Rath Cemetery, Tralee.