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BBC NI journalists Devenport, Magee, Jess and Taggart quit broadcaster

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Mervyn Jess, Mark Devenport, Kevin Magee and Maggie Taggart

Mervyn Jess, Mark Devenport, Kevin Magee and Maggie Taggart

Mervyn Jess, Mark Devenport, Kevin Magee and Maggie Taggart

Four well-known journalists are to leave BBC News NI, the broadcaster has announced.

Political editor Mark Devenport, senior journalists Maggie Taggart and Mervyn Jess and investigations correspondent Kevin Magee have all decided to take voluntary redundancy.

Mr Devenport joined the BBC in NI in 1986 and went on to become political editor in 2001. He also presented BBC Radio Ulster's longest running political programme Inside Politics.

Ms Taggart joined the BBC in the 1970s and went on to present flagship programmes including Good Morning Ulster and Scene Around Six.

Mr Jess joined the BBC in 1988 and has worked in the newsroom for the past 32 years, becoming one of BBC Newsline's most regular reporters.

Mr Magee joined the BBC in 1992 and spent 12 years as a reporter on current affairs programme Spotlight before being appointed as investigations correspondent for BBC News NI five years ago.

Adam Smyth, Head of BBC News NI, says: “Mark, Kevin, Maggie and Mervyn have reported on, investigated and uncovered countless significant stories in the public interest with the utmost diligence, tenacity, expertise and impartiality.

"They are embedded in the fabric of the BBC News NI newsroom and BBC NI as a whole and the professionalism and dedication they have given to their craft has been beyond inspiring.

"While we will miss them as respected colleagues, mentors and, most of all, friends, we are happy for them and wish them every success and happiness in the future.”

Mark Devenport said: “BBC NI has been as much a second family to me as a workplace. I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to be an eyewitness to history, covering some tragic events but also meeting remarkable people and reporting on momentous and uplifting developments.

"I will miss my colleagues, who I regard as my friends, but I won’t miss all those alarm calls for early morning contributions to the BBC’s airwaves.

Mervyn Jess said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to report for the BBC for more than three decades, meeting such a diverse cross section of people. On occasions I had a front seat as little pieces of history unfolded in front of me.

"For that and for the generosity of spirit from the those I’ve worked alongside and the people I have interviewed, I shall always be grateful.”

Maggie Taggart said: “I’ve been privileged to have had a wonderful career at the BBC. The breadth of opportunity has meant there is always a new format, new programmes and new skills and challenges to keep journalists fresh and inquisitive.

" There were many exciting story highlights and many sad and tragic stories which needed covered. I turned my hand to them knowing I was delivering information and analysis on radio and television which was helpful to viewers and listeners.

"I am leaving BBC NI newsroom now but cannot imagine I will stop thinking up story and programme ideas for the future.”

Kevin Magee said: “I have had a great career at the BBC and I want to thank everyone who encouraged and supported me over the years both inside and outside the organisation.

"After working for 28 years in Broadcasting House, it is time to look for a new challenge. My first love has always been long-form journalism and I am looking forward to focusing on that full time.”

Belfast Telegraph