Reflections on Paddy O’Hanlon

I’ve just caught David McKittrick’s obit for Paddy O’Hanlon, one of the first of his generation of SDLP founders to die. I last met him on the fringes of the Bloody Sunday tribunal a few years ago. Not the least of Paddy’s attributes was his good humour and fellowship and the absence of a life of subterfuge – unlike so many of Sinn Fein who because of their past deeds or associations and whatever their talents and present intentions, will always find it hard to win wholehearted trust. My reminiscences with Paddy instantly reminded me what a decent bunch that group sitting together in the photograph were and what a tragedy it was that the unionists of the day failed to do business with them thirty-odd years ago.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London