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Pioneering BBC journalist Stephen Grimason dies aged 67

Veteran BBC journalist Stephen Grimason has sadly died at the age of 67.

The former BBC Northern Ireland political editor passed away following a long battle with cancer. The news journalist was best known for breaking the news of the historic Good Friday A

 greement in April 1998. Stephen achieved a three- decade long career as a news journalist and went on to work for the Stormont administration as director of communications.

The presenter made no secret about his battle with the disease and even received well wishes from high profile names including the former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Stephen kick-started his career working at local newspapers such as the Lurgan Mail, the Ulster Star in Lisburn and Banbridge Chronicle, along with regional papers. And at the tender age of 27 he became the editor of the Banbridge Chronicle. Following a 12 year career in print journalism, he went on to apply for a role at the BBC in Northern Ireland.

Back in January, he spoke at Queen's University of the Troubles. In January 1992 an IRA bomb killed eight construction workers at Teebane, Co Tyrone, and he also addressed the killing of five people by loyalists at the Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in Belfast. 

BBC news presenter Stephen Grimason has died at the age of 67© Reach Publishing Services Limited

He said: "I was the first reporter at Teebane. In the end, I think that the big success of the peace process was that actually peace, or an imperfect version of it, did win through."And when Stephen broke the iconic news of the peace deal which helped put a stop to the troubles, he said at the time: "I have it in my hand." The presenter was described as a "brilliant political editor" by the former Northern Ireland presenter Noel Thompson, the BBC reported. 

Noel said: "He had the two most important attributes for the job. He loved the gossip - the inside track - and he loved to share it with the rest of us. His biggest scoop was of course getting hold of a copy of the Good Friday Agreement before any of the hundreds of other journalists camped out at Stormont. 'I have it in my hand' he told me live on air, with justifiable pride and excitement. It's one of the key journalistic moments of the last 30 or 40 years."

The acclaimed news presenter left the BBC to become Stormont's new director of communications until 2016. But it seems his health has been an issue. Back in 2022 he suffered a heart attack when his younger brother Darryl passed away. Darryl was also a BBC journalist.

Paying tribute to Stephen following the surprising news of his death, Adam Smyth, director of BBC Northern Ireland said: "Stephen Grimason possessed the special talents that only the very best editors and correspondents exhibit - the audience always came away from his broadcasts feeling they knew and understood the political landscape better, and they trusted what he had to say." 

He added: "Stephen's list of contacts and sources was so extensive he regularly seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else - including the politicians.His contribution to BBC Northern Ireland is deeply appreciated and we offer our sincerest condolences to Stephen's family."

And Ken Reid took to social media and wrote: "Stephen Grimason, my dear friend, has died. He showed enormous courage against the odds right to very end. In over 40 years of friendship and rivalry we never exchanged a cross word. Lucky to have spent time with him in his last days. Sleep well my friend." 

Story by Lucretia Munro: Mirror: 

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