Desmond quits TV3 breakfast show in 'gender pay gap row'
Former TV3 presenter Sinead Desmond has quit her job with Ireland AM after 11 years.
The popular journalist has not been seen on the breakfast show since early last month.
She took to social media at the weekend to break her silence as it emerged that she no longer works for the Ballymount station.
"Thank you so much for all of the support today, it means a lot, I really appreciate it," said Desmond (43).
She declined to comment further when contacted by the Herald.
The Dublin-born presenter is believed to have left TV3 over a gender pay gap row.
It is understood she had been unhappy for some time and had broached the issue of pay with her bosses prior to quitting.
Desmond joined the early morning TV show some years after fellow presenters Mark Cagney and Alan Hughes.
It is thought there was a discrepancy over their salaries, but an attempt to address it went unresolved.
It seems her fellow colleagues were "totally in the dark" about her resignation until it was reported at the weekend.
"The news came like a bolt out of the blue," said a source.
"Nobody had a clue where she was or what was going on. People thought that she was maybe sick or was on extended leave from the station.
"Everyone was wondering where she was and there were a lot of viewers sending messages to the show asking about her whereabouts.
"Her decision to call it a day came as a total surprise.
"She's been there a long time and along with Mark Cagney was its chief anchor.
"She was regarded as a safe pair of hands. She's a massive loss to the show and to the station in general."
Confirming her departure, a spokesperson for the station said: "Sinead Desmond has decided to leave Ireland AM after 11 years.
"We would like to thank Sinead and wish her well for the future."
When asked if Desmond's decision to leave was pay-related, she declined to comment any further.
Newlywed presenter Ciara Doherty has been covering for Desmond during her weeks-long absence, alongside broadcaster Clare McKenna.
It is expected that a new permanent presenter for the show will be announced in the new year.
Before joining TV3, Desmond worked as a features editor with a number of magazines and a British newspaper.
She joined TV3 in 2006, taking over from Maura Derrane on the flagship programme, and helped mark its 15th anniversary celebrations in 2014.
Desmond has steadily built up her profile to become one of the station's biggest-stars, and the show has consistently performed well, pulling in an average audience of more than 100,000.