Belfast Telegraph

Trade union delegate and journalist remembered as man of great courage

By Staff Reporter

Tributes have been paid to former Belfast Telegraph journalist and NUJ president, Paul McGill (67), who has died.

A member of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) Belfast and District branch, Paul was one of the best known trade union activists in Northern Ireland and served as NUJ delegate to Belfast Trade Union Council, later becoming national president of the NUJ.

A former education correspondent with this newspaper, Paul made a significant contribution to education and journalism in a varied professional life, working both in Ireland and England. In recent years he had worked for the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI).

A native of Londonderry, Paul joined the Belfast Telegraph in 1978, serving as Education Correspondent, a post in which he broke many exclusives.

After leaving the Belfast Telegraph, he went to York to work for the National Curriculum Council.

Paul's work brought him into contact with the Equality Commission, Making Belfast Work and anti-racism initiatives.

He also worked for the World Bank, the Council of Europe and on a project for Kosovo.

Belfast Telegraph journalist Laurence White interviewed Paul not long after he was diagnosed with the cancer which would claim his life.

Last night he said: "Paul McGill was a inspirational man of tremendous integrity and professionalism. The whole basis of his work was to help other people get on in life

"Paul was someone who believed passionately that people deserved the best opportunities in life.

"Paul faced his final illness with great courage - may we all have such courage when our own time comes."

Gerry Carson, Chairman of the Belfast & District Branch of the NUJ, said: "Paul will be very sorely missed by everyone who knew him. He was very well thought of - a staunch trade unionist, and a very nice guy."

Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, added: "Paul McGill is remembered as a hardworking and diligent president.

"He had a strong commitment to social justice and was a passionate believer in the power of education to transform lives.

"Not long after serving as president he moved out of active trade unionism and refocused his career, but he never lost his love for the union or his profound commitment to professional standards.

"In speaking about his cancer, Paul showed remarkable courage and strength of character.

"It served as a reminder of his great spirit to his many friends and introduced Paul to a new generation of readers of the Belfast Telegraph.

"The NUJ sends condolences to his family, former colleagues and friends."

Paul McGill is survived by his wife Linda, six children and 12 grandchildren, and his first wife, Bronagh.

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