Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Veteran journalist James Kelly dies, aged 100

Veteran Belfast journalist James Kelly has died aged 100.

With a life spanning the aftermath of Dublin's 1916 Easter Rebellion and the culmination of Northern Ireland's peace process in power-sharing almost a century later, the writer was a legendary figure in journalism.

From the Falls Road in west Belfast, ‘Jimmy’ joined the Irish News at just 17 in 1928 and finished his career as a columnist for the newspaper on his 100th birthday on May 14.

He joined the Irish Press in Dublin in 1931 and then moved to the Irish Independent.

While most journalists in Northern Ireland recall the opening of the current Stormont Government, Jimmy covered its creation back in 1932.

Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists Seamus Dooley called him the “uncrowned king of Irish journalism”.

Irish News editor Noel Doran saw him in May at his 100th birthday celebration at Malone House in south Belfast. He said: “He was in great form the day of his birthday. He was always very sharp, very focused but he could also be very funny.”

He called Jimmy “an enormous influence on everyone” at the Irish News. “He wasn’t just part of the history of the Irish News, he was part of the history of the country.”

Mr Kelly’s funeral takes place on Monday from noon in St Brigid’s Church on Belfast’s Malone Road.

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