Journalist and Irish Times contributor Brian Hutton dies suddenly

Hutton (46) wrote extensively as a journalist and was a founding co-director of an independent radio production company

Journalist Brian Hutton, who died suddenly on New Year's Eve

The journalist and Irish Times contributor Brian Hutton has died suddenly. He was 46.

From Derry, Mr Hutton was deputy news editor of the Press Association (PA) news agency for more than a decade and was based in its Dublin office until 2017. He wrote extensively for The Irish Times as a freelance journalist over the past five years and was also a founding co-director of independent radio production company Old Yard Productions.

He died on Saturday after becoming unwell.

The former Ireland editor of the PA, Deric Henderson, paid tribute to Mr Hutton, describing him as “hugely gifted”. “He went about his business quietly, free of drama or any fuss, and never failed to meet a deadline, no matter how tight,” he said.


“He had a lovely manner and that’s probably why he was so good at his job. He got on well with people. They liked him.”

Documentaries and programmes made by Mr Hutton’s company include the New York International Radio Awards finalist The Carberrys: Running in the Family, and Van Morrison: Belfast Cowboy, for ABC Australia.

Educated at St Columb’s College in Derry, Mr Hutton began his career at the Belfast Telegraph in 2003. He did freelance ‘stringer’ work for the Daily Mirror, providing northwest coverage until 2004.

President Michael D Higgins said Mr Hutton was “a fine journalist and known as a brilliant colleague with a reputation for reliability and a sensitive nature.

“He will be missed by so many,” Mr Higgins said in a statement.

The editor of The Irish Times, Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, said Mr Hutton was “a superb journalist whose sharp news instinct, observational skill and natural curiosity meant his byline invariably appeared on the biggest and most important stories. He was also great company: warm, open, interested in other people.”

Mr Hutton was involved in The Irish Times Lives Lost initiative during the Covid pandemic, and in a separate project last summer that chronicled all violent deaths of women in Ireland over the past 25 years.

The northern editor of The Irish Times, Freya McClements, said he was “the best of journalists, the best of friends and the best of men”:

“In the last week alone Brian featured prominently in reports of the release of the State papers and it is fitting that his byline was above another article in the paper on the day he died.”

McClements singled out the role played by Mr Hutton in coverage of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May and the explosion in Creeslough, Co Donegal, which killed 10 people in October.

“As a journalist, Brian was curious, quick-witted and with a keen news sense; he was also warm and genuine.

“Above all, he was a devoted father to his daughter Issy.”

In an article published on November 5th, Mr Hutton returned to Creeslough a month after tragedy struck the town. It opened with these words: “Travelling on the main road to Creeslough, one passes through The Gap. A winding, remote road hewn between the peaks of Stragraddy and Crockmore, a grand portal of rock and bog into another world.

“For the many in the past lucky enough to visit, this was a different world of carefree holidays or day trips to one of the island’s more stunning corners. Now, it is a different world for those who call Creeslough home, too.

“The reminders of last month’s explosion that killed 10 people during a chance visit to the village’s only shop are instant. Not that anyone needs reminding. This tragedy will not be forgotten in our lifetimes, much less within weeks.”

Seanín Graham

Seanín Graham

Seanín Graham is Northern Correspondent of The Irish Times