Journalist, author Jack Holland dies

 

The death occurred in New York yesterday of journalist and author Jack Holland. Holland (56) died in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan after a short battle against cancer.

A Belfast native, Holland was the author of a number of widely acclaimed books on the Northern Ireland troubles and for 25 years was a regular columnist for the New York-published Irish-American newspaper, the Irish Echo. He was senior editor with the paper.

He is survived by his wife Mary Hudson, daughter Jenny, a journalist with the Providence Journal in Rhode Island, and a son Ciarán, who lives in Australia.

In addition to politics, Holland's writing also included novels, short stories and poetry.

During the 1970s, he was an assistant editor of Hibernia magazine in Dublin and during that decade also worked with the BBC, the Sunday Times of London and the Irish Press.

But it was his work published in the United States that was to most distinguish Jack Holland - who came from a mixed religious family - as a journalist with a unique appreciation of the cost that violence exacted on the people of his native Northern Ireland.

His 1987 book, The American Connection, was a ground breaking exposé of the role and influence of Irish America on the political situation in the North.

In subsequent years, Holland wrote several more books on the troubles including Phoenix, Policing The Shadows, an account of the RUC Special Branch's secret war against paramilitary terror groups, and Deadly Divisions, a definitive work on the Irish National Liberation Army that he co-authored with Henry McDonald, Ireland editor for the Observer newspaper.

"Jack was a lion of a journalist and fearless, regardless of which interest group his truth telling would upset," McDonald told The Irish Times last night.