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Brian Farrell
Born Bernard Brendan Farrell
9 January 1929 (1929-01-09) (age 81)
Manchester, England
Education University College Dublin, Harvard University
Spouse(s) Marie-Therese Dillon
Children Naomi, Bernard, Miriam, David, Rachel, Brian and Theo

Brian Farrell (born Bernard Brendan Farrell, 9 January 1929) is an Irish author, journalist, academic & broadcaster.


Early life

Although born in Manchester, England, Farrell moved to Dublin, Ireland during the Second World War. He was educated in Ireland at Coláiste Mhuire, Dublin, University College Dublin and Harvard University in the United States. 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. 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 Founding of Dáil Éireann and a biography of Seán Lemass.

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. During the 1950s he worked with Radio Éireann and in 1962 he joined the newly established Irish television station, Telefís Éireann. Since then he has presented RTÉ's main programmes of comment and analysis - Broadsheet, Newsbeat, 7 Days, Today Tonight and Prime Time. 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 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 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 results.


Two of his sons, David Farrell and Theo Farrell, followed Brian Farrell into academia: David is Professor of Government at the University of Manchester, and Theo is Professor of War Studies at King's College London. Brian Farrell's wife, Marie-Therese, is the daughter of Dr. Theo Dillon, one of the sons of John Dillon the Irish nationalist politician. Her uncle was James Dillon, the Leader of the Fine Gael party.


  • Chairman or Chief? (Studies in Irish Political Culture) (1971) - ISBN 0-7171-0535-0, Editor
  • Founding of Dáil Éireann (1971) - ISBN 0-7171-0536-9
  • Seán Lemass (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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