Gay Byrne’s family have shared their delight as close friend Joe Duffy takes over The Meaning of Life.
The show, which aired between 2009 – 2016, saw the late, great Gay Byrne, speak to some of the biggest names in showbiz and politics about topics such as morality, addiction and abuse.
Earlier this month it returned to our screens, with Joe in the hot seat.
While he was very grateful to be approached about working on the reboot, Joe wanted to speak to Gay’s family about it first.
“I was thrilled, but the first thing I wanted to do was say it to Kathleen, Susie and Crona, Gay’s family,” he told the RTE Guide.
“Kathleen said she could not have thought of anyone else to do it. Which was a lovely thing to say.”
Following Gay Byrne’s passing last year, Joe Duffy opened up about the special moments they spent together over the years – including the time they first met, back in 1966.
A boy of only ten years old, Joe was thrilled to spot his icon, the host of the Late Late Show, in Dublin’s city centre. A gleeful Joe approached Gay Byrne, requesting an autograph, something the pair went on to laugh about in later years.
Speaking on Liveline, Joe Duffy told his listeners, “It was 1966. Gay was 32, getting into his car on Dublin’s Moore Street. He was famous then, probably the most famous man in Ireland.
“I asked for his autograph, and reminded him of this the other day. I told him the story years ago when we became close friends and colleagues.”
Joe revealed how he met with Gay just days before his passing, and will always be grateful for the time they spent together.
“I was lucky enough to visit him on Friday evening and I knew the end was near. I didn’t know that it would happen at this time though,” he began.
“Gay supported, mentored and criticised me, all for the better. He mentored and supported so many people inside and outside of this organisation.
“There was no more generous broadcaster, than Gay. He often sat back and allowed others take the limelight. He had no fear, he was comfortable and confident in his own skin.”
He continued, “He had no agenda, other than to make good, interesting, entertaining, uplifting, educational and highly-rated tv and radio broadcasting.
“The boldest, the bravest, the brightest – we are all the better for his life, and we’re deeply, deeply saddened by his passing.
“If Ireland of the last 60 years was a voice or had a voice, it would be the challenging, bemused, questioning, reassuring voice of Gay Byrne. We as a country, are all the better for his life.”