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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Sad farewell to broadcaster
Tony McAuley was a central figure in developing Irish music
The funeral has taken place of former BBC broadcaster, producer and musician Tony McAuley

Several hundred mourners attended the service on Monday at St Mary's Church in Cushendall, County Antrim.

Afterwards, he was buried in the adjoining cemetery. Two close friends played the pipes and flute as he was laid to rest.

Mr McAuley was a central figure in preserving and developing traditional Irish music and history.

Originally from Cookstown in County Tyrone, he died at his home in the Glens of Antrim on Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

In his BBC television career he was closely associated with musicians who are now central to the Irish music industry.

He gave Enya and Paul Brady their television breaks and it was he who linked the Chieftains and Van Morrison for their first joint performances.

The filmmaker and musician David Hammond praised both his personal strength and professional skills, and said he would be a big loss.

Mr McAuley had a long and distinguished career in broadcasting after joining the BBC as a producer in the Schools department.

He quickly established himself as a creative force behind ground-breaking series such as Ulster In Focus and the renowned series "The Celts" and continued to be involved in making programmes throughout his retirement, despite his illness.

'Greatly missed'

Anna Carragher, Controller of BBC Northern Ireland, described Mr McAuley as a "natural producer and a natural broadcaster".

"His love of Northern Ireland, its music and its speech permeated everything he did," she said.

"I speak for all Tony's friends and colleagues at the BBC when I say he will be greatly missed."

Pat Loughrey, Director of the corporation's Nations and Regions unit, said: "Tony was one of the great entertainers and broadcasters of his generation.

"He was also a life long educator encouraging all of us to share his passion for traditional music, his love of our heritage and his delight in the many characters he discovered wherever he roved.

"Tony's programmes distinguished BBC schedules for 30 years. I and all his colleagues were enriched by his friendship."

Mike Edgar, Head of Entertainment and Music, described Mr McAuley as a "genius in his own right".

Tributes to veteran NI musician
07 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland


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