| 16.3°C Belfast

Michael Devine, Belfast Telegraph's former Dublin correspondent, dies at 80

Close

Exceptional: Michael Devine

Exceptional: Michael Devine

Exceptional: Michael Devine

Michael Devine, the former Dublin correspondent for the Belfast Telegraph, died yesterday. He was 80.

For more than 30 years he reported daily on affairs in the Irish Parliament as well as some of the biggest stories in the Republic since the outbreak of the Troubles.

He worked for the Irish Times before joining the Telegraph and his coverage of the 1970 Dublin arms trial involving the then cabinet ministers Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, who were accused of plotting to acquire weapons, was among his first reports for the paper.

He was on first name terms with virtually every politician in the Dail, as well as having an unrivalled network of contacts throughout the Republic.

Martin Lindsay, a former Telegraph editor who worked with him throughout his years on the paper, said Michael was an exceptional journalist.

He said: "During the decades of political unrest he had an exceptional ability for reading the changes in the political landscape and how shifts in political opinion in Dublin would impact on Northern Ireland.

"He spent countless hours reporting Dail debates, and this was underpinned with private briefings he received from TDs and ministers who trusted his honesty and integrity in committing to print, in a fair and balanced way, the Dublin take on the ever-changing political scene on both sides of the border.

"He was a truly first rate, all-round journalist, and when he didn't have a notebook in his hands he enjoyed nothing better than a good natter over his favourite tipple, a pint of Guinness. Telegraph journalists have fond memories of his visits to Belfast, ending in laughter and story telling. He will be sorely missed."

Chris Parkin, the Press Association's former Dublin correspondent, was one of Michael's closest working associates.

He said: "He was a Dubliner to the core, but he was able to explain in a very even-handed way to a northern readership the complexities of political life on the other side of the border.

"At times that was not easy, especially during the worst of the Troubles.

"But nobody ever doubted or challenged the quality of his work. Michael was an outstanding journalist."

Sam Smyth, formerly of the Irish Independent, shared an office in the Dail with Michael when reporting the affairs of the country before adjourning on most week nights to Mulligan's, the famous pub in Poolbeg Street, and then a regular haunt for Dublin newspaper journalists.

He said: "When I lived in Belfast he was effectively the face of Dublin as the Telegraph's correspondent there.

"I knew his name long before I ever met him and when I moved to work in Dublin he was definitely one of the go-to media people in the city."

He was a keen golfer - a former member at Donabate - and a huge Dublin GAA team supporter. For many years he worked a Saturday afternoon shift in the sports department at RTE.

Michael lived with his wife Deirdre in Clontarf. He is also survived by his son Shane and two daughters, Michelle and Joanne.

Belfast Telegraph