Paul McGill RIP

3 Feb 2017 Nick Garbutt    Last updated: 3 Feb 2017

Former Scope editor Paul McGill

Journalist and trade unionist Paul McGill touched and inspired many with the great courage he displayed as he faced up to the illness that was to end his life. 

The former Scope editor passed away last week, leaving behind a legacy that includes great service to reportage in Northern Ireland.

In November of last year he was interviewed by the veteran Belfast Telegraph reporter Laurence White.

He told him: “If my life can be seen as a piece of string, then I am trying to make it as elastic as possible. When I do die I will be ready for it. I don't fear death and I have really good support here.”

It was generous of Paul, who had a form of prostate cancer, to share his insights as he prepared for the end. He was determined to live life to the full, he had a big house party shortly before the interview which took place on his 67th birthday, and he was still out walking every day and going to concerts and shows.  His positivity was inspirational.

Talking openly about cancer is important and we should be grateful to those who do. It should not be a taboo and Paul helped to break down barriers. That alone is a great legacy for a professional communicator.

Paul was a law graduate who opted for journalism, working for the Education Times in Dublin before joining the Irish Times where he worked with Henry Kelly, who later went on to present Game for a Laugh.  

He joined the Belfast Telegraph as education correspondent in 1978.

He became President of the NUJ and represented that union on the Belfast Trade Union Council. This was a turbulent time for the newspaper industry and industrial relations were heated, yet Paul stated in his interview with Laurence White that he had always held his then editor Roy Lilley in the highest regard and that however fiery the exchanges they were never personal. 

His last role in journalism was as editor of Scope, where he built on his skills and experience to establish himself as a highly respected thought leader and policy expert whose professionalism shone through in all his work.

He will be sadly missed.



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