Mayor’s praise for Jim Flanagan as Ballymena Guardian editor sends paper to print for final time

Thursday 21 December 2017

​​The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has paid tribute to Ballymena Guardian editor, Jim Flanagan, as the highly respected journalist prepared for the last edition of the title under his helm.

Mr Flanagan, who previously edited the Sunday Life and was deputy editor of the Belfast Telegraph, is set to depart the Ballymena Guardian after an eight-year spell overseeing the newspaper’s production.

And to mark his tenure, First Citizen of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, hosted a special reception in Mr Flanagan’s honour in the Mayor’s Parlour at The Braid, Ballymena.

Among the guests were members of Mr Flanagan’s close family, current and former colleagues, MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley, past Mayors of Mid and East Antrim and Ballymena, and serving councillors in the Borough.

Councillor Reid said: “Jim Flanagan is rightly regarded as one of Northern Ireland’s finest journalists and newspaper editors.

“It was a huge coup for his employers to secure the services of such a talented, diligent and capable newspaper man as Jim.

“The Ballymena Guardian is renowned for the quality of its local journalism and Jim has not only safeguarded that reputation but successfully built on it.

“A strong local newspaper is one at the beating heart of a community, with a finger firmly on the pulse of local issues and matters that impact its residents.

“Its role and that of its editor and journalists is to inform, educate, enlighten and entertain its readership. Under Jim’s editorship, the Guardian has certainly done just that.

“The title has consistently punched well above its weight, breaking a string of exclusive stories which subsequently set the news agenda at a regional and even national level.

“During my term as Mayor and since the creation of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council I have always found Jim to be fair, honest and open. He has a terrific eye for a story, an old-school attention to detail and an inquisitiveness borne out of almost four decades of experience at the very top of his field.

“His primary objective is to hold organisations and individuals to account and he has done so consistently, accurately and with the utmost professionalism.

“Jim is not retiring, simply changing direction. I’m glad to hear he intends to keep his hand in, and we will no doubt come across him on our televisions and in our newspapers in the months and years ahead.

“I wish him all the very best as he embarks on this exciting new chapter in his life and thank him again for the fantastic work he has done in our area.”

Mr Flanagan was presented with a gift on behalf of Council to mark his contribution to the Borough as editor of the Ballymena Guardian.