Martina Purdy quits BBC to ‘join religious congregation’

Northern Irish journalist announces departure from broadcaster on Twitter

Martina Purdy has been a journalist with the BBC for the last 15 years. Photograph: BBC

Martina Purdy has been a journalist with the BBC for the last 15 years. Photograph: BBC

 

One of Northern Ireland’s best known political journalists has revealed she is quitting the media after more than two decades as a reporter to join a religious congregation.

BBC NI political correspondent, Martina Purdy, is swapping the cut and thrust of Stormont coverage for an as yet undisclosed religious role.

The veteran journalist, who is understood to be a devout Catholic, explained the new direction her life is taking by posting a statement online to her 11,000 Twitter followers.

Ms Purdy said: “I’ve been a journalist now for almost 25 years, 15 of them at the BBC.

“It has been an immensely rewarding profession and I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve had over many years from colleagues, family, contacts and friends.

“I am especially grateful to the BBC for the opportunities I’ve been given. The BBC has always been very supportive of my work.

“I want to wish all my colleagues all the very best both here and at Stormont, especially my friends in the political unit. I shall miss them very much.

“I also want to wish the politicians well in their future endeavours.”

Ms Purdy, who previously worked for the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph, acknowledged that “many people will not understand this decision”.

“It is a decision that I have not come to lightly, but it is one that I make with love and great joy,” she added.

“I ask for prayers as I embark on this path with all humility, faith and trust.

“This is a very personal decision. I ask that the media respect my privacy and that of the religious congregation which I am entering, as I face up to the new challenges of my life.

“I will not be making any further public comment about this matter.”

Director of BBC NI Peter Johnston said the political team was “extremely sad” to be losing Ms Purdy but wished her well in her new life.

Kathleen Carragher, BBC NI head of news, said her colleagues would “miss her wit and wisdom”.