News

‘Perfectionist' broadcaster Paddy O'Flaherty laid to rest

Gareth McKeown
01 October, 2016 01:00

MOURNERS at the funeral of renowned broadcaster Paddy O'Flaherty have been told of a "perfectionist" who "attended to every detail in everything he did".

Hundreds gathered at St Gerard's Church in Belfast, including many former colleagues, to say their final farewells to the veteran BBC journalist yesterday. He passed away on Tuesday following a short illness, aged 73.

Not only a well-known voice on the radio, presenting and reporting on a range of BBC programmes including Good Morning Ulster and Evening Extra, Mr O'Flaherty was also an accomplished musician, keen angler and skilled woodturner.

He worked as a journalist in The Irish News during the 1960s and 1970s, covering the early Troubles and civil rights movement for the newspaper. He also wrote the 'Pat Brady' country music column for the newspaper before moving to the BBC.

Fr Gerard Cassidy told the congregation one of the hallmarks of Mr O'Flaherty's life was his faith and said he was an active member of the church, involved in St Gerard's choir up until just a few weeks ago.

Past and present members of the choir led the music at the funeral.

Fr Cassidy described Paddy as a "perfectionist by nature" who "attended to every detail in everything he did" and a man who "always tried to bring out the best in people".

He referred to the broadcaster as "a bit of a teacher" in recognition of his work helping young violin players in the church and the support offered to aspiring young journalists throughout the years.

In his address Fr Cassidy also referenced the death of Paddy's wife Brenda 13 years ago.

"The loss of Brenda took its toll on him. He was devastated. Finished some people would say, but through friends and hobbies he was resurrected and lived a new life after that," he said, referencing his involvement in later years in the Lonely Poets and Men's Shed groups.

"I think Paddy was the best person that he could be, in all forms of his life, everything that he did: his music; his carving; his fishing; his teaching," Fr Cassidy added.

Jonathan Bardon, from the Lonely Poets group, told the congregation how members were "completely spellbound" when they first met Paddy and "pleaded" with him to join their group. He read the James Stephens poem 'Joy be with us' in honour of his friend.

Before the conclusion of the mass a recording of 'An Coulin' played on the violin by the former journalist echoed through the church.

The mass was followed by burial in Carnmoney Cemetery.

Mr O'Flaherty is survived by his children Roderick and Oonagh.

01 October, 2016 01:00 News

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