Tributes paid to veteran Ireland correspondent and author Henry McDonald
Tributes have been paid to veteran Ireland correspondent and writer Henry McDonald.
The 57-year-old, from Belfast, died at the weekend following a long-term illness.
He has been described as one of the Northern Ireland capital’s first punks, and was a lifelong follower of the north Belfast football club Cliftonville.
However Mr McDonald was best known for his journalism and writing career.
Cliftonville Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of respected journalist, author and long-time Reds supporter Henry McDonald.
➡️ https://t.co/30Cvv4QTGG pic.twitter.com/jrT4aV4Lkm
— Cliftonville FC (@cliftonvillefc) February 19, 2023
He started at the Irish News, before he was the Ireland correspondent for The Guardian and The Observer for more than 23 years.
Mr McDonald also worked for BBC Northern Ireland and most recently had been appointed the Belfast News Letter’s political editor in 2022.
He wrote a number of books around Northern Ireland’s Troubles, including several about terrorist organisations, and had earned a reputation as an authoritative voice on security issues.
Mr McDonald also wrote political biographies, including of former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and former first minister David Trimble.
Tributes have been paid from across the political divide in Northern Ireland and across the media landscape.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he was greatly saddened to learn of Mr McDonald’s death.
“Henry was an excellent journalist and one of the most knowledgeable commentators on Northern Ireland politics,” he tweeted.
“Always enjoyed my conversations with a man who was good humoured, insightful & passionate about this place.”
We are distraught. @henrymcdonald only joined us a year ago but we loved him from that very first day, bursting with ideas, anecdotes, enthusiasm, and stories. Our deepest condolences to Henry's familyhttps://t.co/sP4FK9iJSM
— Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) February 19, 2023
Alliance leader Naomi Long tweeted: “So sorry to learn of the death of Henry McDonald.
“He was a tenacious and perceptive journalist with a quick wit. He will be desperately missed. Thoughts with all his family and friends, grieving his loss.”
UUP leader Doug Beattie described Mr McDonald as a “fantastic journalist, author and friend”, and SDLP MLA Matthew O’Toole said he was an “old-school hack, football fan, punk, novelist and always good value even when you disagreed with him”.
Katharine Viner, editor in chief of The Guardian, said Mr McDonald was a highly respected correspondent for The Guardian and The Observer for most of his career.
“He broke countless stories and told them with integrity, eloquence and empathy,” she said.
Belfast News Letter editor Ben Lowry said staff are distraught, adding Mr McDonald joined the paper only a year ago, but had been loved from his first day, “bursting with ideas, anecdotes, enthusiasm, and stories”.
“Our deepest condolences to Henry’s family,” he added.
Publisher Blackstaff Press and Colourpoint Creative said they were profoundly sad to hear of Mr McDonald’s death.
“He was a consummate professional and we had a terrific experience working with him on Martin McGuinness: A Life Remembered. Our condolences go to his family and friends,” they said.