The media coverage of the death of President Higgins’ dog Bród was “a bit ridiculous,” according to Shane Coleman.
It emerged on Saturday night that the much-loved 11-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog had passed away, with the death immediately making headlines.
Áras an Uachtaráin confirmed the death the following morning, noting that the dog, who originally arrived at the presidential residence as an eight-week-old pup, was “very much loved” and will be sorely missed by the family and the President’s remaining dog Misneach.
“Bród was a very much loved dog by all that met him and he enjoyed meeting with the thousands of members of the public who came to Áras an Uachtaráin over the years and he was probably one of the most photographed dogs in Ireland,” it said.
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina are sad to confirm that Bród, one of their two Bernese Mountain Dogs, has passed away at just past the age of 11. Bród was 11 years and two months at Áras an Uachtaráin, having come to the Áras as a 8 week old puppy. pic.twitter.com/rKK930FEY5
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) April 23, 2023
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Shane said he fully understands the Higgins family’s grief – but questioned the widespread news coverage of the story.
“I don’t want to be in any way unsympathetic to the President and his family because I have lost a dog and it is … you are devastated, you are really shattered by it and it is really, really sad,” he said.
“My question is … I got a notification on my phone on Saturday evening to tell me that Bród had passed away – now I’m sorry but I think that is a bit ridiculous.
“I don’t think that is a particularly newsworthy story. I don’t think that is something that needs to buzz on my mobile phone.”
He said the Higgins family are undoubtedly going through a very difficult period – but insisted their dog’s death is a “very personal story to them”.
“I don’t think it is of national importance,” he said. “I don’t think it is of particular interest to people.”
When fellow presenter Ciara Kelly pointed out that the news often covers so-called ‘and finally’ stories that are of interest if not importance, Shane said he felt this weekend’s coverage was more than that.
“I mean, a push notification to my phone on it?” he asked.
“Maybe it’s just the old-fashioned newspaper hack in me - and look, I’ve written trivial stories in the past, I’ve written quirky stories, whimsical stories and of course there is a space for that - but I just think news matters and proper news matters and I just worry about it being diluted.”
Bród’s death comes two and a half years after the death of his sister Síoda who died after a short illness in September 2020.
The President’s surviving dog Misneach arrived at the Áras in March 2021.