Sorrow at passing of former Ballymena Guardian Editor

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

The staff of the Ballymena Guardian have been saddened to learn of the passing of former Editor Jim Flanagan.

Jim was a total professional who had a long and distinguished career in journalism.

He received his initial training at the Thomson Regional Newspapers centre in Cardiff.

He was originally a reporter with the East Antrim Times moving on to the news desk at the Belfast Telegraph.

Jim was the deputy editor at the title for 10 years as well as managing editor of its weekly Community Telegraph series, later going on to edit Sunday Life between 2005 and 2009.

He took over at the Ballymena Guardian from long serving editor Maurice O'Neill and maintained the paper's tradition of committed coverage of the community in the Mid Antrim area.

Current Ballymena Guardian editor, Des Blackadder said: “Jim Flanagan was highly regarded by all who worked with him and his passing has been met with sincere sadness amongst his former colleagues.

“Everyone at the Guardian would extend condolences to the entire family circle.”

Among the first to pay tribute to Mr. Flanagan was North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley, who said: “ “It is with great regret that I learnt of the death of Jim Flannagan, formerly editor of the Guardian. “Jim had the most difficult job of following Maurice O’Neill as editor of one of the country’s most significant weekly papers.

“He quickly integrated himself as a noted voice for the community through the pages of the paper.

“I got to know him extremely well. He was direct, had a great eye for a story and cared about the town and its people. To his wife and children I extend my sincere condolences. Their loss will be immense and they are in our prayers. “

Chief Executive of Alpha Media, Jean Long, said that the passing of Mr. Flanagan would be a cause for widespread sadness.

“Jim Flanagan was a fine journalist and an exceptional editor. He will be mourned by all who worked with him and knew him.”

Jim Flanagan

Respected journalist and editor, died 19th April 2022, aged 61.

Loving husband of Colette, father of James and Suzanne, father-in-law of Iain, grandfather of Lana and Freddy, treasured son of Olive and the late Jim, and brother of Gary.

Funeral Arrangements to be confirmed later.

Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu if so desired to the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, c/o O’Kanes Funeral Directors, 12 Portland Avenue, Newtownabbey, BT36 5EY or online at

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