Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Obituary: Brian Hanrahan - BBC correspondent committed to ending education divide in Northern Ireland

BBC journalist Brian Hanrahan has died at the age of 61

BBC correspondent committed to ending education divide in Northern Ireland Brian Hanrahan reported on many conflicts, including the Falklands War in 1982BRIAN Hanrahan, who has died aged 61, was a leading BBC foreign correspondent for more than 20 years.

He witnessed many of the world's major recent events, notably the assassination of Indira Gandhi in India, the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

He also worked for the BBC in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles and was a prominent supporter of integrated education here.

His wife Honor came from the province.

Mr Hanrahan was catapulted into the nation's consciousness for his famed coverage of the 1982 Falklands War.

Hanrahan's dispatches from the South Atlantic during the |conflict with Argentina made him a household name.

His report from the aircraft carrier Hermes, in which he said “I'm not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back”, immortalised him — and became one of the most famous news reports from the conflict.

Hanrahan was referring to the number of Harrier jump jets returning to the Hermes and another of the Royal Navy's carriers, Invincible, after they had completed a combat mission without any losses.

Born in Middlesex in 1949, Hanrahan attended St Ignatius' |College, a Catholic grammar school in north London, before obtaining a BA in politics from the University of Essex.

He joined the BBC in 1971 as a junior clerk in the photo library and went on to enjoy a life-long |association with the corporation.

In addition to the Falklands, he covered many of the biggest foreign stories of the past 30 years as a correspondent on location, and latterly as the BBC’s diplomatic editor. As the diplomatic editor from 1997, Hanrahan travelled regularly, particularly during the Balkan wars and the Middle East peace process.

His experiences working for the BBC in Belfast led to a 20-year association with the province’s integrated education movement.

Only last month he attended a dinner held by the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) at the House of Lords.

In a statement, the IEF said: “Brian was a committed advocate of educating children together across the divide in Northern Ireland. He will be sorely missed.”

Earlier this year Hanrahan was diagnosed with cancer and his treatment had been going well.

Even during chemotherapy, the hunger he had for his work could be seen as he planned new stories to tackle, including a trip to |uncover the real Turkey, but two weeks ago he was admitted to hospital with an infection.

He is survived by Honor (nee Wilson) and their daughter.

MARTIN CHILDS

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