Journalist and author Chris Ryder dies aged 73

IRA threatened to murder reporter who covered Troubles virtually from their outset

Journalist Chris Ryder covered the Troubles during its bloodiest periods. Photograph:  Pacemaker

Journalist Chris Ryder covered the Troubles during its bloodiest periods. Photograph: Pacemaker

 

The Northern Ireland journalist, Chris Ryder who covered the Troubles virtually from their outset, has died at the age of 73.

His wife Genny in a tweet on Saturday said the former Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and Belfast Telegraph journalist died “peacefully and pain free after a short illness”.

She said he was looked after with “exemplary care” by the Northern Ireland Hospice and that his cremation would be private.

Mr Ryder was an expert in policing matters and wrote a number of books on issues such as the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Ulster Defence Regiment, the Drumcree protests of the mid-1990s and the Northern Ireland prison service.

He was a member of the North’s Police Authority during a period in the 1990s until he and fellow member, David Cook, who died recently, were sacked by the then Northern Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew.

Mr Ryder said at the time they were sacked from the police watchdog because they were seeking “intelligent, evolutionary changes” to make the RUC more accountable.

He also covered the Troubles during its bloodiest periods. He was threatened by a number of protagonists and at one stage it is believed that the IRA wanted to murder him because they were angered by some of his reporting in the Sunday Times.

RTÉ Northern correspondent Vincent Kearney, formerly of the Sunday Times, who wrote a book on Drumcree with Mr Ryder, described him as a journalist with a “ferocious appetite for stories and a contacts book his rivals could dream of”.

“He was among the first to expose racketeering and financial fraud by the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries. He received many threats and was made aware of a plan by the IRA to kidnap him. Undaunted he kept writing stories he believed had to be told,” he added.