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Lord Kilclooney accuses BBC of giving 'priority to news from the Republic' after coverage of Cavan inquest

John Taylor, the former UUP deputy leader who now sits as cross-bench peer Lord Kilclooney, criticised "BBC Ireland" for its coverage of the inquest
John Monaghan

A FORMER Ulster Unionist deputy leader has hit out at BBC NI for giving "priority to news from the Republic" following its coverage of an inquest in the case of a Cavan man who killed his wife and three children before killing himself.

Held at Cavan Courthouse, the inquest heard harrowing details of how Alan Hawe murdered his wife Clodagh and their three sons, Liam, Niall and Ryan, before taking his own life, at their home near Ballyjamesduff in August 2016.

The inquest - which saw a Garda officer break down in court - concluded on Tuesday and was widely covered on various platforms on BBC NI, including featuring as the lead story on its website.

John Taylor, who now sits in the House of Lords as Lord Kilclooney, tweeted: "Once again BBC NI gives priority to news from the Republic rather than from NI.

"This time a murder in the South rather than the possible increase in rates which applies to everyone across Northern Ireland. No wonder it is now called BBC Ireland."

Lord Kilclooney, a former Stormont minister and MP, is the chairman of Alpha Newspapers, which produces local newspapers across Northern Ireland. The group also owns the Midland Tribune and Tullamore Tribune, based in the Republic.

One respondent said: "You love your Ulster John, Cavan is in Ulster. It's also a pretty big story."

In a later exchange, Lord Kilclooney claimed that BBC NI "has made a political decision to become an all Island station in competition against RTE".

Last week the House of Lords standards commissioner dismissed a complaint against the peer after he called Taoiseach Leo Varadkar an "Indian" in a post in November, while in August, he tweeted that northern nationalists are not equal to unionists.

BBC NI declined to comment on the tweet.

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