A top class reporter and a gentleman of journalism

Obituary: Paul Muldowney, born June 29th, 1938 – died June 12th, 2017

 Paul Muldowney working on the news desk of the Irish Press in June 1979

Paul Muldowney working on the news desk of the Irish Press in June 1979

 

Paul Muldowney, who has died just short of his 79th birthday, will be remembered as a top class reporter and a gentleman of journalism.

Standing at 6ft 2in, dark, handsome and chiselled in the celluloid form of film stars, he was often teased by older colleagues as being the Gregory Peck and, later by the younger ones, Richard Gere of the profession.

Muldowney was a news hound and assistant news editor in the Irish Press group for many years before its closure, with a well-earned reputation for sourcing, writing and presenting news in a fair and accurate fashion.

Muldowney was born in Co Donegal, but spent most of his young life in Co Carlow where his father James worked in the sugar factory. He was educated there at the Christian Brothers College, before joining the local newspaper the Carlow Nationalist.

Inevitably his competence and flair would guide him towards the national media, and in the early 1960s he joined the Irish Press as a reporter, during which time he covered and, later as a news desk man, contributed to practically all of the major news stories of the era.

He played a central role in managing a network of 70 news reporters in Dublin, across the country and in London and Brussels. He was know for always getting the best out of his team whether it was election coverage, documenting the adventures and misadventures of government leaders, Bloody Sunday, the Stardust tragedy, the Kerry Babies controversy or the latest paramilitary atrocity.

Devastated

Like all of his colleagues in the evening, Irish and Sunday newspapers within the Irish Press group, he was devastated at its closure. Fortunately when the closure happened Muldowney had been working as a reporter for the group in the High Court. Like many fellow Irish Press journalists, he was one of those quickly snapped up by other national media and continued as a group freelance reporter attached to the Supreme and High Courts reporting team until his retirement in 2005.

He then went to live with his beloved Bernadette in her home town of Sligo, where he died in the loving care of Bernie, son John Paul (PJ) and daughter Ann Marie.

Muldowney was somewhat of a shy man which Bernie, formerly Noone, and then a radiographer in St Luke’s Hospital, recalled while reminiscing about when they first met “so long ago” at a party in Moyne Road, Ranelagh, Dublin, with a bunch of the Press gang.

“He ignored me for half the night before eventually asking me to dance,” she recalls. “We were married less than three years later in the Church of the Three Patrons, Rathgar, and set up our first home in Palmerstown Road, Dún Laoghaire, before finally settling in Blackrock, Dublin.”

Grace Kelly

One of Bernie’s special memories is dancing with Paul at Le Bal de Petits Lits Blancs, a banquet and ball in Powerscourt House, Enniskerry, and rubbing shoulders on the dance floor with Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier in whose honour the charity function was organised to mark a visit to Ireland. Muldowney, who had been covering the royal visit, was one of a number of journalists who had been invited with their wives or girlfriends.

He was a keen golfer, and was a member of the Dublin Journalists Golfing Society.

He played rugby as a young man in Dublin, maintaining a lifelong interest to the extent that his son PJ won an under-16s medal with Leinster.

He is survived by his wife Bernie, son PJ, daughter Ann Marie, and brother Gerard in Donegal and sister Kit in Dublin.