'My teacher mum was my biggest inspiration growing up' - Miriam
RTE star Miriam O'Callaghan has revealed that her mother, a former teacher, was the most inspirational person in her life when she was growing up.
The Prime Time presenter has paid tribute to her mum, Miriam Snr, ahead of an inaugural event to recognise the contribution that teachers make to Irish society.
"My mother Miriam was a national school teacher and was principal for many years in St Brigid's Girls' National School in The Park in Cabinteely, so this is something that is quite close to my heart," she said.
"My mother is a great role model to her family and somebody I have always looked up to.
"As a teacher, she made a huge contribution to her school and community.
"I have no doubt she had - and continues to have - a positive impact on the lives of so many of her former pupils."
The RTE journalist is taking time out from her busy schedule to take centre-stage to host the inaugural DCU Teachers Inspire Ireland gala event at DCU this Friday.
The Teachers Inspire initiative, aimed at recognising teachers' importance to our society, was launched by DCU earlier this year with the support of businessman Dermot Desmond.
The initiative received more than 400 nominations from all parts of Ireland before a shortlist of 20 teachers was announced earlier this month after being whittled down by a panel chaired by former President Mary McAleese (inset).
"The role of a teacher is such an important one. They teach our children everything, not just education, but about life - and the influence they can have on young people comes second only to their parents and guardians," added Ms O'Callaghan.
"This initiative from DCU is wonderful.
"It's something that's been long overdue - but it's here now and I hope it continues into the future."
DCU's president Professor Brian MacCraith said the initiative clearly "captured the public's imagination".
This Friday's event will see four of the 20 shortlisted teachers, one from each province, receiving the inaugural Teachers Inspire Ireland Desmond Awards.