Former RTÉ broacaster Pat Kenny has joined UTV Ireland.

He made the announcement of his latest career shift at a press conference to launch UTV Ireland's new schedule at lunchtime today, August 19.

66-year-old Kenny left RTÉ after 40 years in 2013 to take up a position at Dublin-based radio station Newstalk.

UTV Ireland is due to begin broadcasting in the Republic in January of 2015. Mr Kenny will continue to host Newstalk's morning show as well as fronting a new current affairs programme on UTV Ireland. 

The station says it will broadcast 90 minutes of national news and current affairs on weekday nights. The channel has the exclusive broadcasting rights for ITV Studios programmes for the Republic of Ireland audience, including popular soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale from 2015.

The channel will also broadcast the BBC's The Graham Norton ShowSaturday Night Takeaway, and period drama series Mr Selfridge.

Speaking at today's schedule launch, Mr Kenny said: "When I joined Newstalk I took a leap into new territory and I’m delighted I did. I have thoroughly enjoyed adapting to what was a fresh challenge in my career and I’m pleased to say, I’m still hugely enthused by it and enjoying every single day.

"At that time, I made a commitment to bed in the radio show at Newstalk 106 in a very focussed way and I’m happy that we’re on track in that task. With that initial period under our belt, the timing is now really good to get back into television - a medium in which I grew up and for which I have a massive passion."

"Passion is very much at the centre of my rationale for teaming up with the new team at UTV Ireland – the passion and energy which they’re demonstrating very much matches my own desire to get out there with something innovative, exciting and creative.

"I’m energised by what I’ve seen and the prospect of working with talented young people allied to some very experienced and wise colleagues. I’m very excited to be joining UTV Ireland and really looking forward to broadcasting again early in 2015. For me, this is new territory – interesting, challenging and fresh.

"We’ve already had some initial discussions on how we can produce an entertaining, enticing proposition that is compelling for viewers. During the next few months we’ll take what is effectively a blank canvas with some initial strands and shape it to create the best television possible.

"I know the output will reflect the passion, talent, creativity and the energy of the team at UTV Ireland and I’m delighted to be part of that team.”