Michael Fisher presented with NUJ life membership by Seamus Dooley Photo: © Kevin Cooper
At a meeting organised by the Belfast and District Branch of the National Union of Journalists a number of reporters and a photographer were awarded life membership of the union, having belonged to the NUJ for over forty years. I was presented with my certificate by the Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley and somehow I managed to receive two of them! Seamus pointed out that my father Des is also a long-time NUJ member (he helped to start the Irish South Eastern Branch when he started work in Carlow) as is my sister Carolyn who also worked in RTÉ.
Michael Fisher presented with 1913 lockout centenary coin by Gerry Curran Photo: © Kevin Cooper
The Cathaoirleach of the Irish Executive Council Gerry Curran presented me with a limited edition coin, issued last year to mark the centenary of the 1913 lockout in Dublin, which I was very proud to receive in recognition of my contribution to the NUJ in Ireland and Britain. I joined the union in July 1974, becoming a member of the London Radio Branch when I worked in the BBC Radio Newsroom at Broadcasting House as a News Trainee. I later joined the Birmingham Branch when I moved to the West Midlands in 1975. I then joined Dublin Broadcasting Branch on taking up a position with RTÉ News in Dublin in January 1979. I transferred to Belfast in August 1984, becoming a member of Northern Ireland Broadcasting Branch, subsequently amalgamated with Belfast and District.
NUJ life member Michael Fisher with former RTÉ News cameraman Bryan Drysdale Photo: © Kevin Cooper
I remember the Broadcasting Branch Treasurer at the time was Austin Hunter of BBC Northern Ireland. He has also been awarded life membership (44 years a member), along with two of his former BBC colleagues, David Lynas and Noel McCartney. Noel who received his certificate two years ago and had served on the union’s National Executive Council, was congratulated on the achievement by Gerry Curran.
A fifth life membership goes to photographer Alan Lewis, a familiar figure in Belfast media circles. He joined the NUJ 42 years ago. He received his certificate from the President of the International Federation of Journalists, Jim Boumelha, another NUJ stalwart.
Five of the ten new NUJ life members in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher
NUJ President Barry McCall from Dublin was the guest of honour at the presentation of life memberships to ten members of the National Union of Journalists, most of them working in the Dublin area. The ceremony was held on Friday evening at Liberty Hall, as a prelude to the Biennial Delegate Conference of the Irish section of the NUJ. NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet came to congratulate the ten, who between them have over 400 years’ membership of the union.
Jim Eadie, Ray Managh, Michelle Stanistreet and Michael Fisher (Belfast & District Branch, NUJ)
Husband and wife team Clodagh Sheehy and Liam Kelly from the Irish Independent group were among the recipients. Des Ekin of the Sunday World, who joined the NUJ as a cub reporter in the Newtownards Chronicle before moving to the Sunday News also received the award. Another Northerner Ray Managh who has worked for many years as a freelance courts correspondent in Dublin was presented with his certificate. He began his career in the Tyrone Constitution in Omagh and his proposer for NUJ membership was Ivan McMichael. He sent warm regards to a former colleague and PA Ireland Editor Deric Henderson, celebrating forty years as a journalist in Belfast.
Ray Managh Photo: © Michael Fisher
IEC Cathaoirleach Gerry Curran (who has been re-elected to the post) thanked each of the members for their contribution to the NUJ.
IEC Cathaoirleach Gerry Curran presents Ray Managh with his life membership award Photo: © Michael Fisher
The other recipients were Paul Barry, former deputy Sports Editor of the Irish Times, whose father, a photographer, had proposed him for NUJ membership; Michael Lavery, formerly of the Roscommon Herald and later with the Evening Herald; Con Power and Albert Smith (Independent Newspapers); Gerry Smyth, a poet, who worked for The Irish Times (I know from my mother that the Smyths are particular about the spelling of their surname!!); and Jim Smith (correct!), former Editor of the Dundalk Argus.