Tributes have been pouring in following the sad news that former RTÉ broadcaster Shay Healy has passed away at the age of 78.
Healy, who was from Sandymount in Dublin, not only composed Ireland's winning entry in the 1980 Eurovision song contest, but enjoyed a long career in Irish journalism and broadcasting. He was perhaps best known for hosting Nighthawks - a late night, satirical chat show during the 80s and early 90s that helped re-launch RTÉ 2 as Network 2 at the time.
Heartbroken to hear that Shay Healy has passed away. Had the pleasure of working with Shay some years ago on his musical ‘The Wiremen’. He was a joy to work with, a genius, a legend, and a true gent. Rest In Peace Shay. #shayhealy pic.twitter.com/IOKjFTXhUo
— Simon Delaney (@SimonDelaneyEsq) April 10, 2021
We all knew Shay wasn't going to go on forever, but feeling so lonely for him today. Miss the gags, theories, enthusiasm & phonecalls. Apart from his huge talent, he was a lovely, kind man. Promised I'd play this for him when he was gone. R.I.P. https://t.co/nhNlndu4y1 #ShayHealy
— john creedon (@johncreedon) April 10, 2021
I’m so sad to hear #ShayHealy has died. He was an absolute gent. He and @BrendanCourtney gave me my first ever TV job too on an all gay night on RTE2 many years ago. Years ahead of his time in every way and a musical mastermind. His book tells a story of great life. pic.twitter.com/GT9NrzGzTV
— PJ Gallagher (@pjgallagher) April 10, 2021
Very sad to hear of the passing of Shay Healy an immense talent and a gentleman. Rest in peace Shay. @mikehanrahan58
— Pat Shortt (@Pat_Shortt) April 10, 2021
Having worked his way through the production ranks at RTÉ from the 1960s, Healy's career became synonymous with Nighthawks during its four-year run up to 1992, with the show also returning for a one-off special in December 2012. Nighthawks was a unique show that mixed comedy with current affairs and interviews, and all of those elements are captured perfectly in a fondly remembered clip featuring Healy with John Giles and Eamon Dunphy after the Republic of Ireland had qualified for the 1990 World Cup.
The two icons of Irish soccer punditry were clearly in a celebratory mood, with drinks flowing and so much smoke in the room you could just about make out their curly locks. The casual style of interview is something you just don't see on TV nowadays, and the sight of the lads letting their hair down on a monumental day for Irish football is great to see. It not only takes us back to the glory days of Jack Charlton's Ireland, but it is also a timely reminder of the craic we are all missing in the pubs over the past year - hopefully not for much longer.
During the conversation, Healy invites Giles to sing a song, and following a minimal amount of arm-twisting from Dunphy, within seconds the entire table are locked arm in arm belting out a joyful rendition of Que Será Será, a song dripping with nostalgia for those who remember Italia '90.
You can enjoy the clip in all its glory below. Shay Healy RIP.
— Brad Shaw (@emmetbrad) February 21, 2021