Northern Ireland

Funeral held for one of Ireland's 'most influential' journalists' and ex-RTÉ news head Wesley Boyd

A funeral was held for former RTÉ news head Wesley Boyd in Dublin on Saturday.
A funeral was held for former RTÉ news head Wesley Boyd in Dublin on Saturday. A funeral was held for former RTÉ news head Wesley Boyd in Dublin on Saturday.

THE funeral has taken place in Dublin of Co Fermanagh-born former head of RTÉ news Wesley Boyd.

Mr Boyd, who was RTÉ's director of news from 1974 until 1990, died at his Dublin home last Monday aged 77.

The journalist had previously worked as London editor of former Belfast newspaper the Northern Whig until 1964, before becoming diplomatic editor of the Irish Times.

He began his career at 18-years-old, landing a junior reporter position with the Tyrone Courier.

Following his death, former colleagues paid tribute to Mr Boyd, including ex-RTÉ northern editor Tommie Gorman, who described him as an “able, wise and inherently decent boss", adding: “It was an honour to work for him. Sincere sympathy to his grieving family.”

Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, said Mr Boyd was among the “most influential figures in Irish journalism”, and spoke of his leadership during the period in which the Republic's Section 31 of the Broadcasting Authority Act banned RTÉ and other broadcasters from transmitting interviews with Sinn Féin over its links to the Provisional IRA.

The ban was lifted in 1994 by culture minister and future President Michael D Higgins.

Mr Dooley said of Mr Boyd: “He was a man of fierce integrity. Wesley was totally committed to the concept of press freedom while also balancing that with the Section 31 controversy while in RTÉ. He had to balance his management obligations with his passion for freedom of expression.

A death notice for Mr Boyd said he was "predeceased by his adored wife Marion and son Peter, adding: "Wesley will be sadly missed by his son-in-law Justin, grandchildren Grace, Matthew and Erin, sister-in-law Stella, brother-in-law John and extended family as well as his kind neighbours and friends."

At Mr Boyd's funeral on Saturday at Dublin's Mount Jerome Victorian Chapel, his daughter Dierdre told mourners: “He grew up between rural county Fermanagh and the urban streets of Belfast. And his heart was always in Fermanagh."

Ahead of a recitation of the Seamus Heaney poem Digging, she said of the poem's references to the pen and the spade: "These are the two instruments that my father made great use of during his long and happy life.”