Celebrating Longford's Inspiring Women #IWD2021 - RTÉ’s Sinead Hussey: ‘If women don't help each other, we'll never reach the top’

International Women’s Day - Monday, March 8, 2021 #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge

Alan Walsh

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Alan Walsh

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alan.walsh@longfordleader.ie

Celebrating Longford's Inspiring Women #IWD2021 - RTÉ’s Sinead Hussey:  ‘If women don't help each other, we'll never reach the top’

Longford's Sinead Hussey is RTE's North East Correspondent

Longford’s Sinead Hussey has been working in RTE for ten years now and prior to that, she worked at Newstalk, Shannonside Radio and LMFM.

#ChooseToChallenge is the theme for International Women’s Day and Sinead believes it’s all about recognising the need to call out gender bias and inequality.

Also read: Celebrating Longford's Inspiring Women #IWD2021 - Anne-Marie Tomchak: Women shouldering the burden of Covid-19 fallout

She explained, “As we battle the social, economic and political fallout from Covid-19, the need for this is greater than ever. We all have a voice and it’s about making that voice heard. This can be in any area of life, from access to education and choices for girls and young women to flexible working.

“It’s also important to remember that we can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements and I think that’s really important.

Also read: Celebrating Longford's Inspiring Women #IWD2021 - Louise Lovett: We don't have full gender equality in western world

“Women need to raise other women up, be kind and supportive. I’m determined over the next year to be more encouraging of other women because if we don't help each other up along the way, we'll never reach the top. In terms of my work, it’s all about ensuring women are represented equally on TV and highlighting their achievements.”

How will you mark International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8?

I’ll raise a cup of tea at some point in the day to all the great women in my life. Such is the nature of my job; I don’t know where I’ll be on the day yet, but I always make time for a cup of tea! Last year I celebrated the day at the Longford Women’s Link. It was probably one of the last events I attended before the world was turned on its head when Covid struck.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to recognise how much progress has been made. Let’s not deny women today have opportunities that our mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of so we must celebrate that. But it’s also an opportunity to recognise how much more progress we need to make until we live in a society where gender equality is something that we take for granted as a reality.

#ChooseToChallenge is the theme for International Women’s Day - applying the theme to your own life and career, what might it mean to you and what is your view or interpretation on the theme?

It’s all about recognising the need to call out gender bias and inequality. As we battle the social, economic and political fallout from Covid-19, the need for this is greater than ever. We all have a voice and it’s about making that voice heard. This can be in any area of life, from access to education and choices for girls and young women to flexible working. It’s also important to remember that we can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements and I think that’s really important. Women need to raise other women up. Be kind and supportive. I’m determined over the next year to be more encouraging of other women because if we don't help each other up along the way, we'll never reach the top. In terms of my work, it’s all about ensuring women are represented equally on TV and highlighting their achievements. 

Two ladies that have inspired you in your own life and explain why?

1. My Mam Mary. She (and my Dad) worked so hard to give us everything. She gave up her job just before I was born and re-joined the workforce after my younger sister arrived. It was a huge sacrifice to make at the time and one I only truly appreciate now that I’m a mother. There was always a hot dinner on the table when we got in from school. Now that she’s retired, she’s handed the cooking over to my Daddy!


2. Ms Butler and Ms Griffen – both secondary school teachers in the Convent of Mercy in Longford. Although I was a bit of a messer, they persevered with me. They encouraged me and instilled a belief in me that I could follow my dreams. In fact, Ms Butler predicted that I’d work in TV. I still have the diary in which she wrote “Please remember me when you are a famous journalist on TV”. I’m not sure about the famous part but she got the other part spot on!


How many years working with RTE?

I’m working in RTE ten years now and before that I worked in Newstalk radio, Shannonside Radio and LMFM.


Three life / career achievements you are proudest of?

I am most proud of my daughter Aoibhin. She has opened my eyes in so many ways. Getting the job in RTE is my biggest career achievement. As a teenager, I always wanted to work in RTE. My first day was very daunting but there’s so many great Longford people working there that I felt at home quick enough.


Covid-19 pandemic - how has it affected your work and how are you and your family coping?

Life has continued as normal really with the exception of the restrictions. My husband is a Garda, so he’s been working, and my job has stayed the same, although Covid has dominated everything. We are very lucky to have our jobs. Childcare has been difficult at times, but we’ve muddled through, like many families. I’ve really missed my family though. Facetime just isn’t the same!


The two stories you have covered during Covid that stand out?


Interviewing some of the families of those who died in the Dealgan House Nursing Home in Dundalk was heart-breaking. 23 people died there during the first wave of the pandemic. The interviews were very raw, and it really hit home how the pandemic has devastated some many families.


Another story that left a lasting impact was about a woman from Drogheda who had spent over four weeks on a ventilator in a medically induced coma after contracting Covid-19. We filmed Laura Barry leaving hospital and arriving home to an outdoor socially distanced gathering in her housing estate. It was a very emotional and uplifting story.


And on a personal level what has stood out?

The resilience and commitment of our frontline staff, the kindness of people and how much I miss hugs!


Plans for when lockdown restrictions are lifted ?

I’ve a few plans! A family BBQ if restrictions are eased at some point during the summer and curry chips in Luigis are high on the agenda! I’m hoping to cycle the canal from Mullingar to Longford with my aunt Maggie. Other than that, catch up with family and friends.


Are you missing the GAA and soccer and being able to attend matches? I’ve missed the GAA so much. It’s been one of the hardest parts of the last year. There are people you meet at matches that you wouldn’t otherwise meet. I miss the half time cup of tea and the bar of chocolate, the craic on the terrace, running for cover when the clouds open in June and the feeling in the pit of your stomach when Longford are ahead with minutes to go. We’ll get back there some day, and we’ll never take it for granted again.


With the growth of fake news, the importance of trusted media and a few of your thoughts on the subject?

So many of us are watching, listening, and reading so much about Covid-19, it can at times become overwhelming. But the importance of getting that information from a trusted media source cannot be underestimated. Messages that have gone viral by incorrectly claiming to know when exactly we were going to go into lockdown and when the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, intends to give the green light to pubs opening up are just examples of that. Trusted media are setting people straight about misinformation. A Reuters report last June showed that while trust in news has been on a downward trend internationally, confidence in news in Ireland has remained stable over the past year. During a pandemic reliable and credible information from trusted sources is key.