Sean Coyle: Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee joins growing campaign to reinstate presenter

Sean Coyle.
Sean Coyle.
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More than 4,000 people have already signed a 'Save Our Sean' petition following the shock announcement that the Sean Coyle show on Radio Ulster was being cancelled

The 'Reinstate Sean Coyle' campaign has steadily gathered momentum since he announced on Friday that he was presenting the popular 10.30am to 12 noon slot for the last time.

The decision by the BBC has not gone down well across Northern Ireland.

'Derry Girls' writer Lisa McGee said: "Cancelling Sean Coyle is madness lads."

Mr Coyle's BBC colleague and 'Talkback' presenter William Crawley said: "I’ve chatted on-air with Sean Coyle every week day for the past five years.

"We’ve still never met in person - he was in Derry, I was in Belfast. But I feel like we’re old friends at this point, and I already miss him."

Mr. Coyle's departure from the airwaves has also had the effect of uniting politicians from across the spectrum in support of the reinstatement campaign.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: “This is a big mistake by BBC management. I understand the need to shake up programming and try new ideas but Sean is a popular presenter and has given 35 years of service to the organisation."

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: "The duo that was Gerry Anderson and Sean Coyle made for great radio. After Gerry's passing, Sean on his own carved out a music show that many people enjoyed, placed as it was before the current affairs 'Talkback' show."

Michael Allen, principal of Lisneal College in Londonderry, observed: "Wouldn't it be mad if Sean Coyle's exit from BBC Radio Ulster was the catalyst for restoring the executive in Stormont? It's the first thing the MLAs have agreed on in donkeys. In this place anything can happen."

On Friday an audibly emotional Sean Coyle broke news of his departure to listeners.

“I’m afraid it’s not fake news. I wish it were,” he said.

He signed off with Bing Crosby’s ‘Show me the way to go home’ before quipping: “If they can bring Lazarus back, they can bring me back.”

Peter Johnston, director, BBC Northern Ireland, said: “Decisions around changing our radio schedules are always difficult and never taken lightly.

“Sean has been a regular fixture with listeners on BBC Radio Ulster / Foyle for decades.”

"He is a brilliant broadcaster and his easy-going repartee and deep musical repertoire – not to mention his countless impressions - have made him a popular voice on our airwaves,” he added.