Brian Farrell
Brian Farrell is an Irish
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 author, journalist, academic & broadcaster.

Early life

Although born in Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Farrell moved to Dublin, Ireland during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was educated in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 at , Dublin, University College Dublin
University College Dublin
University College Dublin ) - formally known as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin is the Republic of Ireland's largest, and Ireland's second largest, university, with over 1,300 faculty and 17,000 students...

 and Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. He married his wife Marie-Therese in April, 1955 while attending Harvard University.

Academic career

In 1955 he joined the administrative staff of University College, Dublin became director of extramural studies and in 1957 assistant to the registrar
Registrar (academic)
In education outside the United Kingdom, a registrar or registrary is an official in an academic institution who handles student records. Typically, a registrar processes registration requests, schedules classes and maintains class lists, enforces the rules for entering or leaving classes, and...

. In 1966, he began lecturing in the Department of Ethics and Politics there and went on to become senior lecturer in politics. In the early 1980s, having run the Department of Ethics and Politics for a number of years since the death of the departmental head, Professor Rev Conor Martin, Farrell was controversially denied the post of department head and professor. The post instead was given to Professor John H. Whyte of Queens University Belfast. In 1985 in compensation he was made Associate Professor of Politics, where he became the senior lecturer in Irish government. He retired from academia in the mid 1990s.

He has written a number of books on Irish political history, including Chairman or Chief (regarding the office of the Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

), The Founding of Dáil Éireann and a biography of Seán Lemass
Seán Lemass
Seán Francis Lemass was one of the most prominent Irish politicians of the 20th century. He served as Taoiseach from 1959 until 1966....


Broadcasting career

Farrell has also had a successful career as a media commentator. He has written articles for the Irish Press and the Irish Independent
Irish Independent
The Irish Independent is Ireland's largest-selling daily newspaper that is published in both compact and broadsheet formats. It is the flagship publication of Independent News & Media.-History:...

. During the 1950s he worked with Radio Éireann and in 1962 he joined the newly established Irish television station, Telefís Éireann
RTÉ is the abbreviation for Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the public broadcasting service of the Republic of Ireland.RTE may also refer to:* Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 25th Prime Minister of Turkey...

. Since then he has presented RTÉ's main programmes of comment and analysis - Broadsheet
Broadsheet (Irish TV series)
Broadsheet was a Telefís Éireann television current affairs programme presented by John O'Donoghue, Brian Cleeve, and Brian Farrell and broadcast in Ireland live on weekday evenings from 1962 to 1963.-Background:...

, Newsbeat, 7 Days
7 Days (Ireland)
7 Days was a Radio Telefís Éireann current affairs programme presented by Brian Farrell, Brian Cleeve and John O'Donoghue and broadcast in Ireland from 1966 until 1976.-Background:...

, Today Tonight
Today Tonight (Ireland)
Today Tonight is an Irish news and current affairs programme noted for its in-depth analysis, robust cross-examination of senior politicians and investigative reporting. The programme was brodacast on RTÉ One for the first time on Monday 6 October 1982....

, Questions and Answers and Prime Time
Prime Time
Prime Time is an Irish news analysis, current affairs and politics programme. It is broadcast on RTÉ One on Tuesday and Thursday nights between 21:30 and 22:10. It is currently presented by Miriam O'Callaghan, who has presented the programme since its commencement in 1996...

. He also continued to work on radio from time to time.

Farrell covered major events at home and abroad, starting with the visit of the American President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 to Ireland in 1963.

He has presented the results programmes for ten Irish general elections. He has interviewed several US Presidents, including this interview with Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 in 1984.

Farrell has been honoured twice by the national press TV critics for his work in RTÉ current affairs programming. He received his first Jacob's Award in 1968 for his presentation of 7 Days. His second was awarded for his central role in RTÉ's coverage of the 1977 Irish General Election
Irish general election, 1977
The Irish general election of 1977 was held on 16 June 1977 and is regarded as a pivotal point in twentieth century Irish politics. The general election took place in 42 parliamentary constituencies throughout Ireland for 148 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann. The number of...


In December 2000, he presented an Irish historical programme 100 Years, a retrospective of events in Ireland over the 20th century.


Two of his sons, David Farrell and Theo Farrell, followed Brian Farrell into academia: David is Professor of Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College, Dublin and Theo is Professor of War Studies at King's College London
King's College London
King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

. Brian Farrell's wife, Marie-Therese, is the daughter of Dr. Theo Dillon, one of the sons of John Dillon
John Dillon
John Dillon was an Irish land reform agitator from Dublin, an Irish Home Rule activist, a nationalist politician, a Member of Parliament for over 35 years, and the last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party....

 the Irish nationalist politician. Her uncle was James Dillon, the Leader of the Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...



  • Chairman or Chief? (Studies in Irish Political Culture) (1971) - ISBN 0-7171-0535-0, Editor
  • Founding of Dáil Éireann
    Dáil Éireann
    Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

    (1971) - ISBN 0-7171-0536-9
  • Seán Lemass
    Seán Lemass
    Seán Francis Lemass was one of the most prominent Irish politicians of the 20th century. He served as Taoiseach from 1959 until 1966....

    (1983) - ISBN 0-7171-1074-5
  • Communications and Community in Ireland (1984) - ISBN 0-85342-727-5
  • Consensus in Ireland: Approaches and Recessions (1988) - ISBN 0-19-827545-5, Foreword
  • Child Poverty in Ireland (2000) - ISBN 1-86076-183-6
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