The late Nicholas Nally, as photographed by Matt Nolan.

Death of former Westmeath Examiner editor Nicholas Nally

The death has occurred of Nicholas Nally former editor and owner of The Westmeath Examiner.

Mr Nally, who had attained the age of 90 on October 30, died peacefully at Newbrook Nursing Home in Mullingar at 2am this morning, Saturday.

The remains are to repose at Gilsenan's Funeral Home opposite The Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, from 4pm on Monday. They will be removed from there to the Cathedral for 6.30 pm.

The funeral Mass is on Tuesday at 10am, and will be followed by burial in Walshestown Cemetery.

Mr Nally was one of the most esteemed  faces in the world of local newspapers, having joined the staff of The Westmeath Examiner as a junior reporter, later going on to edit it for almost five decades.

Over a career that that spanned 7 decades, he also went on to spearhead the acquisition of The Westmeath Independent and The Offaly Independent titles, creating a strong network of news gathering teams that continue to dominate the central midlands.

A native of Kilpatrick, Ballinea and an only son, Nicholas Nally attended the Christian Brothers School in Mullingar before going to the Technical College to learn typing.

The young student’s flair was recognised  by the headmaster of ‘The Tech’, and he recommended to the owner/editor of The Westmeath Examiner, the late John P Hayden, former MP, that the youngster be given a start in journalism.

Thus began Nicholas’s career as a reporter – and as the newspaper’s only reporter at the time, he got to know the people and the workings of his native county intimately, cycling out in all weathers to cover “markings” in outlying locations.

Mr Hayden died in July 1954, and Mr Nally formally became editor – but he had effectively been editing the newspaper for several years at that stage.

Mr Nally oversaw the growth and development of The Westmeath Examiner and later, its sister papers, but he also played a key role on the national stage as a member of both the Provincial Newspapers Association of Ireland (PNAI) and the Irish Master Printers’ Association (IMPA), and indeed, he served terms as presidents of both those bodies.

Prior to becoming editor, Mr Nally, a staunch member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), served as chairman of the midland NUJ branch.

Throughout his career as a journalist and editor, Mr Nally was passionate in his advocacy of press freedom and of the independence of the press, and indeed made submissions to The Law Reform Commission on the area of the rights and responsibilities of the press.

Mr Nally was also passionate in his belief in and fondness for his native town and county. He pushed  hard to see the hospital extended, and pushed hard to see progress and development that would improve the life of the people of Westmeath.

Through his editorial columns was where he made his views known, and these were held in high regard.

A devout Catholic, a faithful and devoted family man, a participant in the life of his community, he was a man of principle, possessed of a great intellect; he was fair, and blessed with great equanimity.

For a break from the world of news and deadlines, he enjoyed gardening, and indeed, even in a patch at the back of The Westmeath Examiner office, he found a space in which to grow roses.

Mr Nally continued his devotion to and interest in The Westmeath Examiner after its acquisition by Celtic Media Group, acting in a mentoring role to journalists and other staff members who greatly respected his input.

When his beloved wife Peggy became unwell, and moved to Newbrook Nursing  Home, faithfully he went there every day, and ensured she never had the chance to feel lonely.

Sadly, ill-health eventually meant Mr Nally himself found it necessary to move to Newbrook, and poignantly, his death occurred eight years after Peggy’s – to the day and to the hour.

Mr Nally is survived by his four sons, Bernard, Joseph, Martin and Nicholas and his daughter, Catherine Weafer, as well as by his daughters-in-law, Rhona, Dympna, Pauline and Helena; his son-in-law Vincent Weafer; his grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as by other relatives and friends.

He will be fondly remembered.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.