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30 years on, the night Herald lost four great men

Former Herald editors and reporters have paid tribute to colleagues who lost their lives in an air crash 30 years ago.

On November 13, 1984, a charter flight carrying eight men and the pilot crashed on its way from Ireland to France to collect the first bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau wine that year.

On board were Niall Hanley, editor of the Evening Herald; John Feeney, an Evening Herald reporter; Kevin Marrow; columnist for the Sunday World and Evening Herald and Tony Hennigan, diary editor of the Irish Independent.


Managing Editor of the Independent Media group Michael Denieffe spoke of the "awful shock" the disaster brought to the media circle and the impact the crash had on the Independent group.

"It was simply a tragic accident that deprived Independent Newspapers of a number talented people," he said.

Also on the flight were nightclub owner Pat Gibbons, hotel manager Francois Schelbaum, wine merchant Cormack Cassidy, proprietor Arrigo Chichi and pilot Jack Walsh.

Sunday World columnist Paddy Murray also honoured his four former colleagues, saying their deaths left a huge void in the paper and described his shock at hearing the news about the crash.

"I was in a nightclub with friends after a meal. I went to order a bottle of wine when I heard the barmaid say the name 'John Feeney'. I asked her if she was saying something bad about my friend and colleague.

"John was brilliant. Kind, generous, honest. 'You haven't heard,' she said. 'Heard what?' I asked. She told me to go back to my table. She came over and put a couple of bottles on the table.

"'I'm sorry,' she said. 'John is dead.' Even now my eyes fill up thinking about that moment."

What made the matter worse was that with four of his colleagues tragically killed, Paddy still had to complete the paper the next day. The pain of hearing the news was still very raw.

"It was one of the hardest days of my life, losing four friends in one night and still having to work through the night to put the paper together".

Today, Independent News & Media remembers the day it not only lost four journalists and colleagues, but also four great men.