Frank Millar to leave the Irish Times…

Slugger hears with some regret that Frank Millar is to move on from his role as London editor of the Irish Times after 19 years in the post… Although he’ll be more familiar to Slugger readers for his incisive and insightful analysis of the complex undertows of Northern Irish politics.

A straightforward and unfussy journalist, he nevertheless seemed to be able to draw out some of the most important material of the time. Back in December 2002, in the smaller confines of old Slugger, we serialised his interview with Peter Robinson and called it ‘Robinson’s Plan‘ since at the time it was the first indication that the DUP had specific terms with which they would engage with the two governments.

The effect of his later work with Mitchell Reiss Ian Paisley, Dermot Ahern, Gerry Adams, and Peter Hain were held to be a game changing moment by some senior political insiders.

His book on Trimble is an almost real time blow by blow account that gives something of the combative but respectful character of his political journalism. It can be rightly said that he took no prisoners, but that he understood the boundary between a journalist’s right to honest enquiry and the legitimacy of democratic politics (see Northern Ireland: A Triumph of Politics for one of the soundest rationales for the legitimacy of the Peace Process?).

As a journalist, he was one of the ‘real’ guys. He will be much missed by those of us who value scepticism over cynicism every time… Good luck with the rest of your career Frank!

Let’s hope this does not presage a downgrading in the priorities of Northern Ireland in a newsaper that has served us well over the years…

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