AddThis SmartLayers

Journalist who covered Troubles and country music dies aged 73

paddy-oA journalist who covered the Northern Irish Troubles and country music for a daily newspaper has died aged 73.

Tributes have been paid to Paddy O’Flaherty, formerly of the Irish News, who later went on to a radio career and was described as the “embodiment of all that is best in public service broadcasting”.

Paddy worked on the Belfast-based News during the 1960s and 70s, covering the early Troubles and Civil Rights movement for the newspaper.

He also wrote the ‘Pat Brady’ country music column for the newspaper before moving to BBC Radio Ulster.

Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary at the National Union of Journalists, said: “Paddy O’Flaherty was the embodiment of all that was best in public service broadcasting. He had a vast range of interests and that was reflected in his career.

“He covered the darkest days of the Troubles with great sensitivity and as a news reader conveyed bad news to his listeners with appropriate dignity. Throughout his journalism career he also reflected the wider facets of life in Northern Ireland.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said she was “really sorry to hear about Paddy’s death. Such a gentle person”, while Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was “a wonderful broadcaster, fiddler and like myself, a fly fisherman”.

Paddy presented and reported on a range of Radio Ulster programmes including, Good Morning Ulster and Evening Extra, as well as reading television and radio news bulletins for the BBC.

A life-long supporter of country music, he built up a huge following for his radio programmes, first on Downtown Radio and then on BBC Radio Ulster with the long-running Country Club in which many stars appeared, including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn.

Paddy also presented Make Mine Country on BBC NI television.

Louis McConnell, who worked with Paddy at the News, said he was a “unique and entertaining colleague”, while UTV broadcaster Paul Clark said he was “deeply saddened to hear about the death of Paddy”.

Paul added: “I was a rookie journalist in the Irish News when we first met. What a super voice.”

One comment

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.