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Richard Downes is an Irish broadcaster and journalist. He currently presents Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1. He has worked for the Press Association, Reuters, the Financial Times and the BBC.

Early life

Downes was reared on Northside Dublin, born the ninth of ten children. His father was a civil-servant whose library Downes became fascinated with from an early age. He admired the souvenirs brought back from Africa by his cousins who were missionaries. His brother was also based in Nigeriamarker.


Downes's career in journalism started in 1985 in Londonmarker, where he worked for the Press Association, Reuters, and the Financial Times. He later moved to the BBC. There he was made Southern Africa Correspondent. In 1998 he was a based in Baghdadmarker for two years. He grew to know the country and was sent to report on the Desert Fox aerial assault against Saddam Hussein which took place that December. He was to later write of his experiences in his 2006 book In Search of Iraq: Baghdad to Babylon.

In 2000, he moved to RTÉ News and Current Affairs. He was later redeployed to Iraqmarker, this time with RTÉ. He covered many events in the country since the start of the Iraq War. He left before Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled, claiming he was “at an advanced stage of psychological disintegration“ and that the pressure on his family was too much to bear.

Downes published his book in 2006, In Search of Iraq: Baghdad to Babylon, which has an account of his time in Iraq. In 2008, during the 2008 Zimbabwean presidential election, he was one of only a few to be granted access into Zimbabwemarker. Downes was only allowed to stay in the country for a period of three days but he returned disguised as a tourist and filmed a secret report for the BBC's Newsnight.

Radio work

He is currently a presenter on Ireland'smarker most listened to radio programme, Morning Ireland.

Literary work

  • In Search of Iraq: Baghdad to Babylon (New Island Press, 2006)


External links

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