Ireland: Marty Whelan hopeful for future Irish success

by Eleanor Welsh 252 views

The Irish voice of Eurovision, commentator Marty Whelan, has insisted he will never give up on Ireland’s chances at the Eurovision Song Contest.

But the TV presenter did admit that there’s “no plan” to turn around the country’s losing streak in the competition, which has seen Ireland fail to make the final for several years since the semi-finals were introduced.

Portugal had never won before this year. To say there’s a formula that we’re not adhering to, that’s not true. There’s no plan – you can have all the plans you like. The best song will have the best chance, no question about it. We need the best song we can get.

Brendan Murray represented Ireland in this year’s contest with his ballad, Dying to try, but failed to make the final, despite having the backing of X-Factor’s Louis Walsh.

Ireland last won Eurovision in 1996, with the country’s best result in recent years being in 2011, when Jedward finished in eighth place with Lipstick.

Confident for 2018

RTE has called for songwriters and singers to put themselves forward for next year’s competition, and says it is looking for experienced acts. Marty feels confident that Ireland will make the final next year, for the first time since 2013.

“I think it should be open to anybody who wants to be a part of it,” he said.

It’s much more open this year, I hope. You need the big night. It’s still an incredible event. I remember when Brian Kennedy went to Athens and he was fantastic. You just don’t know. We didn’t qualify again this year. The problem now is you say to someone, ‘Will you go?’ and they have to make the decision. Do we send Johnny Logan again? I hope we’ll get to the final next year, I’m very positive about it. We’re still up there, we’re still the leaders.

Ireland have won the competition seven times, but Sweden have won six times and have fared much better in recent years. Since 2011, Sweden have only finished outside the top 10 once, whereas Ireland have only made it into the top 10 once.

You can’t point your finger and say ‘that’s why’ we lost’, we don’t know why. No one can come back to us and say, ‘Your act was crap’, because it wasn’t.

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