Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Andersonstown News founder, Basil McLaughlin dies

Basil McLaughlin
Basil McLaughlin. Picture courtesy of the Belfast Media Group.

One of the founders of the Andersonstown News, Basil McLaughlin, has died aged 76.

The West Belfast native set up the newspaper in 1972, using the proceeds from the hit protest song "The Men Behind the Wire".

He was its first photographer and later became editor turning it into one of NI's most successful local newspapers.

The Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he was "deeply committed" to his community.

He added: "Basil will also be remembered for the countless photographs he took on behalf of the paper, often in very difficult and dangerous circumstances.

"He stood for truth and justice, he will be sorely missed."

The Andersonstown News, which is now part of the Belfast Media Group, was founded after the anti-internment song by Barleycorn was a massive hit, spending five weeks at the top of the Irish charts.

With his involvement, the Belfast Media Group later expanded rapidly, setting up newspapers in the north and south of the city and also acquiring the 80-year-old Irish Echo, the biggest-selling Irish-American newspaper.

Its headquarters in west Belfast are named Teach Basil, in honour of the founder.

Writing on his blog, the company's current chief executive, Mairtin O'Muilleoir, said he had been to see Mr McLaughlin shortly before he died.

He said: "I was glad to be able to call over last night and let him know his colleagues were asking for him and our thoughts today are with his wife Pat and the McLaughlin family circle."

Mr McLaughlin is survived by his wife Patricia, sister Noreen and nephews and nieces. His funeral will take place in west Belfast on Saturday.

Requiem mass will be held at St Michael the Archangel Church in Finaghy at 1200 GMT followed by burial at Our Lady's Cemetery, Hannahstown.

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