Gerald Barry dies after long illness

Monday 14 March 2011 22.44
1 of 2
Gerald Barry - 63-year-old had been ill for some time
Gerald Barry - 63-year-old had been ill for some time
Gerald Barry - 'A superb journalist with a razor sharp mind'
Gerald Barry - 'A superb journalist with a razor sharp mind'

The death has taken place of the journalist and broadcaster, Gerald Barry.

He was 63 and had been ill for some time.

Mr Barry was editor and presenter of RTÉ's This Week programme on Radio One for many years. He retired last year.

He began his career in journalism with RTÉ News in the early 1970s and specialised in politics and economics.

Mr Barry's career contained many highlights. He reported on the Falklands war for RTÉ. He was the interviewer when then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald launched his 'Constitutional Crusade' for a more liberal society.

Responding to a number of heaves against him then Taoiseach Charles Haughey once told Mr Barry that he was confident of the outcome, and that Mr Barry should 'go dance on somebody else's grave'.

Mr Barry also worked as the Sunday Tribune's political correspondent for over a decade from 1983, before returning to RTÉ in 1995 to work on This Week.

Tributes

Former Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald has described Gerald Barry as a 'gentleman' and one of the great journalists of our time.

He said Mr Barry was highly intelligent, and said his interviewing style was highly probing but always fair.

Managing Director of RTÉ News Ed Mulhall has also paid tribute to Mr Barry.

Mr Mulhall said: 'Gerald was a superb journalist with a razor sharp mind, a brilliant memory and a forensic attention to detail, which, combined with his broadcasting skills, led to many ground-breaking interviews over the 40 years we were privileged to have him as a colleague and a friend in the RTÉ Newsroom.

'He was also a generous and helpful mentor to many of the younger journalists who have worked with him. He will be sorely missed by us all.'

Former colleague Sean Duignan said of Mr Barry's interviewing technique: '(It) was quite rigorous, it was clinical even, forensic, but he was never discourteous: it wasn't in his nature.'

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore expressed his sympathy on behalf of the Labour party to Mr Barry's family and colleagues, and called him 'one of the outstanding journalists of recent decades.

'He conducted many memorable interviews on This Week and, under his stewardship, the programme was always essential listening for anyone involved in politics or simply interested in news and current affairs,' said Mr Gilmore.

'I was interviewed by Gerry many times. I always found him to be well prepared, thorough in his approach and scrupulously fair.'

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Mr Barry was one of the greats in Irish journalism and a master of his craft.

'His interviews were always insightful and informative and he succeeded in drawing the best from his subjects.'

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has also expressed his condolences to Mr Barry’s family.

Mr Adams said: 'Gerald Barry's distinctive voice and incisive and probing interview style were sadly missing during the recent election campaign.

'Gerald was a thoughtful and fair journalist and broadcaster. His death is a deep loss to the world of journalism.'

Former Fine Gael politician and president of the Irish Human Rights Commission Dr Maurice Manning said: 'Gerry Barry was a journalist of great integrity and decency who made an immense contribution to Irish public affairs broadcasting most especially in election coverage. He will be greatly missed.'