Broadcaster Paddy O’Flaherty passes away aged 73

�Press Eye Ltd  - Photo by Jonathan Porter. Journalist Paddy O'Flaherty

�Press Eye Ltd - Photo by Jonathan Porter. Journalist Paddy O'Flaherty

The renowned BBC Northern Ireland broadcaster and journalist Paddy O’Flaherty has passed away at the age of 73.

His death followed a recent illness.

Tributes have poured in for the well known journalist.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “(I am) really sorry to hear about Paddy’s death. Such a gentle person.”

The well-known radio presenter Wendy Austin said: “Very sad that my lovely colleague Paddy O’Flaherty has passed away.” She described him as “one of nature’s gentlemen” with a “wonderful voice”. She added: “We’ll miss him”

Peter Johnston, Director BBC Northern Ireland, said: “Paddy was for many years a well-known face and voice across our airwaves and television screens.”

Editor of BBC Northern Ireland Radio Current Affairs and Digital News NI, Adam Smyth, also paid tribute to Mr O’Flaherty.

He described him as “one of the best radio broadcasters these islands have ever produced, a tremendous character and a man whose name was synonymous with BBC Radio Ulster”.

The BBC say that Mr O’Flaherty presented and reported on a variety of Radio Ulster programmes including Good Morning Ulster and Evening Extra, as well as reading television and radio news bulletins for the corporation.

A life-long supporter of country music, he built up a huge following for his radio programmes, first on Downtown Radio and then on BBC Radio Ulster with the long-running Country Club in which many stars appeared, including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn.

Mr O’Flaherty presented Make Mine Country on BBC NI television.

Away from the broadcasting studio, he was also an accomplished violinist as well as a keen angler.

Peter Johnston, Director BBC Northern Ireland, said: “Paddy was for many years a well-known face and voice across our airwaves and television screens.”

Kathleen Carragher, Head of BBC News NI, said Mr O’Flaherty was “simply a fantastic radio broadcaster”.