Donal Musgrave, who has died after an illness borne with fortitude, was a journalist and a true professional who wrote insightful, considered and rigorously fair editorials in this newspaper for over a decade.
His 54-year career in journalism began in Fleet Street in London where he worked for the Irish Press. He went on to work for the, the and later this newspaper where he had a distinguished career as a reporter, news editor and, from 1994 until his retirement 13 years ago, chief leader writer.
His writing career brought him to Nigeria to cover that country’s civil war in the late 1960s; to Wales to report on the Aberfan coal tip disaster which killed 144 people in 1966 and to Northern Ireland to write about ‘the Troubles’. As a keen environmentalist, he wrote extensively on Gulf Oil and Bantry Bay, including the oil spillages and the Whiddy Island disaster which claimed the lives of 50 people.
His colleagues recall a professional and a gentlemen who sought out the truth and was not afraid to stand by a story. He was a wonderful mentor and did much to encourage women at a time when there were few working as reporters or sub-editors.
Even when a hand tremor made writing articles difficult, he persisted and used speech-recognition software to continue to meet deadlines. That was typical of the man. He was a professional until the very end.