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NUJ pays tribute to Martin O'Hagan

27 September 2011

The National Union of Journalists marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Sunday World journalist Martin O'Hagan this week.

Martin O'Hagan, who was Secretary of Belfast and District branch, was killed on the night of 28 September 2001, having attended an NUJ meeting earlier in the day.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, expressed grave disappointment at the fact that, 10 years after his death, no one has been convicted of the murder. She said:

"For the family, friends and colleagues of Martin O'Hagan this anniversary is a grim reminder of the awful circumstances of his murder. Martin was killed in front of his wife Marie after leaving a local pub. The cold-blooded nature of the ambush was truly shocking and we in the NUJ are acutely aware of the pain and suffering of Marie, her daughters and the wider family circle. They are in our thoughts at this time."

Michelle Stanistreet expressed deep frustration at the failure of the PSNI to secure convictions for the Martin O'Hagan murder.

"We have consistently expressed our frustration at the failure to bring to justice those who perpetrated the murder of a brave and courageous journalist. Against the backdrop of this failure it is important that we salute the courage of journalists throughout Northern Ireland but especially at the Sunday World.
"The on-going threats to the Editor and staff of the Sunday World in Belfast is a matter of grave concern and serve as a reminder of the challenges facing our members away from the glare of publicity."

Barry McCall, NUJ Vice President, will represent the union at a major seminar in Belfast on Friday organised by NUJ branches in Northern Ireland. He said:

"The seminar, Journalists Safety: the Northern Ireland Experience" is an opportunity to salute Martin O'Hagan's legacy as a campaigning journalist, as a trade unionist and as a community activist.
"His work as a campaigning journalist, fighting for equality and justice and shining a light into those corners that others would prefer remained dark, continues to inspire all of us and acts as a beacon for NUJ members everywhere."

Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, expressed concern at recent developments in Northern Ireland, Britain and the Republic of Ireland which he said also pose a serious threat to media freedom.

"Police and Garda Siochana demands that journalists and media organisations hand over unpublished images from public events is a serious threat to the ability of media workers to work freely. Photographers and video journalists are being put at real risk. Pressure to betray sources and to hand over information to the security forces undermines the ability of journalists to act in the public interest."

Tags: , martin o'hagan, newspapers, Sunday World, health and safety, safety, murder, journalists killed