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Jim Fitzpatrick: Tributes paid to ‘giant of news in Ireland’ after death aged 92


Jim Fitzpatrick, who has died aged 92 (Pic: Irish News)

Jim Fitzpatrick, who has died aged 92 (Pic: Irish News)

Jim Fitzpatrick, who has died aged 92 (Pic: Irish News)

Tributes have been paid to “one of the giants of news in Ireland”, Jim Fitzpatrick, following his death at the age of 92.

Mr Fitzpatrick, the chairman of The Irish News, passed away on Saturday morning after a short illness.

He played an active role in the newspaper for more than half a century, and was proprietor since the early 1980s.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin led tributes today.

“I had the great privilege of knowing and interacting with Jim over many years. He was, in every respect, a true gentleman,” he said.

“In his decades-long stewardship of The Irish News, he was a profoundly important advocate for an end to violence in the North. His role in the earliest days of the embryonic peace process is not widely known, but it was crucial.

“In his support for and leadership of the Chamber of Commerce in Belfast, he brought together people from all backgrounds in common constructive cause and was an example of true civic leadership.

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“In his quiet and ceaseless philanthropy over a lifetime, his generosity has left its stamp all across Belfast and further afield.”

Dominic Fitzpatrick, managing director of The Irish News, paid tribute on behalf of the family, saying: "Dad was an inspiration to so many people.”

Irish News editor Noel Doran said Mr Fitzpatrick was a "giant of the newspaper industry as well as a key figure in the search for peace and reconciliation in Ireland who also had significant roles in law, business and the arts".

Eoin Brannigan, editor-in-chief of the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life, said: "On behalf of the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life, I'd like to extend my sympathies to Jim Fitzpatrick's family and all at the Irish News on his sad passing.

“The Belfast newspapers have always enjoyed a positive, competitive relationship, a tradition I'm glad to say continues to this day.

“The tributes paid to Jim reflect his influence in the newspaper business and beyond. May he rest in peace."

Former DUP leader and First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I am very sorry to hear about Jim’s passing.

"I always enjoyed chatting with him as he was genuinely interested in engaging at a human level whatever about politics.

"A man who knew the true meaning of civil and civic discourse. He will be sadly missed.”

Sinn Fein northern leader Michelle O’Neill said: “I knew Jim personally over many years and we spoke by phone recently where despite his illness his mind remained sharp.

“I will remember Jim fondly as a man of great wisdom and integrity who leaves us with a rich and generous legacy."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Mr Fitzpatrick lived “an extraordinary life”.

“Jim Fitzpatrick was one of the giants of news in Ireland,” he said.

“During the most difficult periods of our recent past, Jim was fearlessly devoted to telling the stories of ordinary people who had suffered the most extraordinary loss and he did it without favour, even when it meant putting himself at odds with the men of violence.

“He was a man committed to the truth, to fairness and to peace on our island.”

Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry said: "Jim Fitzpatrick was a giant in the NI media and the wider community over many decades. I always enjoyed talking with him.”

Mr Fitzpatrick was predeceased by his wife Alice. He is survived by children Anne, Brid, Bernard, Eileen, Dominic, Clare, Jim Jnr and Andrew, and wider family circle.

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