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About Mark Devenport

Mark Devenport | 13:00 UK time, Thursday, 17 May 2007

I've been a BBC Northern Ireland reporter since the mid 1980s, and have covered all the twists and turns of the peace process. In 1999 I moved to New York where I was United Nations correspondent, before returning to Northern Ireland to take over as political editor.

I started blogging during the March Northern Ireland Assembly elections (you can read the archives here). But as the DUP-Sinn Fein deal on restoring Stormont began to take shape, it seemed a good idea to keep my political stream of consciousness going. So the Devenport Diaries were born.

I'm looking forward to highlighting the offbeat, unusual goings on around our restored Assembly, and to reading your comments on what's going on.

I've written two books - Man of War, Man of Peace (a biography of Gerry Adams), and Flash Frames (a collection of anecdotes about reporting in Belfast). Like JR Hartley in the old TV advert, I never see these manuscripts in the bookstores anymore. Let me know if there is a rare sighting!

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I enjoyed the election blog, so glad to see you're continuing, Mark. Don't forget to pop into Slugger from time to time!

  • 2.
  • At 04:15 PM on 17 May 2007,
  • Pandora wrote:

'The Devenport Diaries' is such an excellent name!

The Election Blog was really good fun and I am glad your blog is continuing - I need somewhere to air my frustrations at the Politicians etc.

I meant to post a comment a week ago to encourage you to keep the blog open past your devolution deadline.

So I'm glad that now you've got the blogging bug you're going to give Will & Testament a run for it's money!

Read Flash Frames many years ago. Has it really taken us so long to get between Good Friday Agreement and a stable devolution?

  • 4.
  • At 07:14 PM on 17 May 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

Mark I am glad to see your continuing with your blogging. You are the most informed political commentator anywhere in the world. Have you a crystal ball?!!!

Best Wishes

  • 5.
  • At 10:36 PM on 17 May 2007,
  • Graham McKenzie wrote:

Ah, don't worry, Mark about not seeing your books around these days. Console yourself with the thought that they're the sort of books that people hang on to, refer to, re-read etc - and then, years later, they appear on the secondhand market at a higher price than the original price. That way your name never gets forgotten. Good luck

  • 6.
  • At 12:46 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • Maura wrote:

Hi Mark
Your books are still available from the library but readers would have to look for Man of War, Man of Peace under the author David Sharrock.

  • 7.
  • At 12:47 PM on 23 May 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

I've just bought a second-hand copy of Flash Frames on amazon and am enjoying reading it. But I've been quite surprised to learn about your short stature. I always thought you looked very tall on tv, but perhaps that's because we never see the full length of your legs! Am also enjoying this blog, keep it up!

  • 8.
  • At 10:22 PM on 03 Jun 2007,
  • Sean O'Neill wrote:

A Taxing Example.
Will the people on the hill set an example by rolling back the Rate tax increase to show that a start is being made in reducing the uneeded 70 percent of Government Managers and 40 percent Non management.This consultation is free and should eliminate 98 percent of uneedeed private sector consultants.

  • 9.
  • At 02:20 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Mark.S wrote:

Mark I take great interest in politics and view our own local politics as a sideshow. Taking this broader picture as a base I find your witty comments on Stormont Live entertaining because it is clear to me that you probably view NI's localism in much the same way.

I watched this mornings show and tittered somewhat when that chap from the DUP Whittled on about Intelligent Design. I mean what a chump. If misery could be personified this man would be it. Anyway I thought you might find this link relating to the teaching of Intelligent Design and Creationism in UK schools interesting. Only yesterday the UK government issued guidance that ID and other such quack theories have no place in the science curriculum. I would encourage you and your colleagues to be brave enough to highlight to the electorate what voting for the DUP really means.

  • 10.
  • At 05:51 PM on 21 Sep 2007,
  • Margaret Shiels wrote:

"I'm Mark Devenport, BBC NI's political editor, and I'll be blogging here on all things politics."

Don't you mean "all things political"?

  • 11.
  • At 06:20 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Willie Gallagher wrote:

Nice blog Mo Chara. Nice to hear what is going on up at the zoo!

Have a few words with the BBC Newsline Editor.
Reporting on the Glenarm Fishery diosaster the newscaster said ".... covering an area of 10 square miles..."
The illustration for idiots showed a diagram "10 miles x 10 miles".
Did the director not notice a contradiction?
What is the truth?
Mike O'Shea, Ardglass

  • 13.
  • At 08:15 PM on 28 Nov 2007,
  • Dave Clements wrote:

Re Quinn and McCartney murders

i see no blog or other place to ask my question

From my position outside of NI. A thing I don't understand.
Why are either IRA or criminal gang heads never named in the press. In North America, reputed mafi and biker gang leaders are often named without reference to specific crimes. what is the press afraid of reprisals or libel suits? Do these IRA community leaders not have opinions or comments or no comments that the press could report.
Dave Clements

  • 14.
  • At 08:29 AM on 21 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:


Hope you have a good Christmas and keep up the excellent work with the Devenport Diaries in 2008!

  • 15.
  • At 07:45 AM on 26 Dec 2007,
  • Tim wrote:


As an American, and four-time visitor to NI, I just recently discovered this blog.

Per your request, I can report that I found and purchased a used copy of "Flash Frames" at Powell's Books here in Portland, Oregon about two years ago.

How it got there (a UK edition) I'll never know, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and the book occupies a special place on my bookshelf along with other volumes about the situation there.

Having read the book, I'm delighted to see you're back in NI, covering politics, and look forward to reading more of your observations.

  • 16.
  • At 06:38 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Kathy Craven wrote:

Myself and two other filmmakeres have gathered footage since 2004 about the ongoing work to establish a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. We'd like to include any events marking the 10th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement coming up this April. Would you please let me know where I can find information about events scheduled?
Thank you.
Kathy Craven

  • 17.
  • At 01:26 PM on 19 Feb 2008,
  • David Craig wrote:

When are the Assembly due to discuss the Review of Public Administration in relation to local councils. They where supposed to discuss it at the end of January with an announcement due early February.

  • 18.
  • At 03:26 PM on 12 Mar 2008,


Bout ye?!

This is just a wee note to let you know how much I appreciate your balanced and fair reporting of events in Norn Iron.

I shall always remember when you accompanied me and the late Cecil Walker (then Ulster Unionist MP for North Belfast) in his constituency during the 1997 General Election when Cecil called out to one woman at the opposite end of a terraced street in Silverstream "Hello Mary, I see Willie-John is still with us"!

"He is rightly Cecil; what makes you say that" replied the woman.

"Och! I thought I recognised the skid-marks on those long-johns on your line, and thought it was your man - rather than you - who was suffering from the shits"!

You may recall I turned to you and the camera crew at that point and joked "Cut! I don't think we had better broadcast that ... are you ready boys?! Action; Take Two"!

I never did get to relay that at Cecil's funeral but Joan (Cecil's widow) and their two sons and I have joked about it since. I'm still unsure whether it was this untelevised broadcast of Cecil electioneering or the immortal broadcasting of him when his hearing aid packed-up which caused him to lose his seat four years later, but it was certainly NOT due to your impartial reporting!

Remind me the next time I see you at "The Crown" bar in Great Victoria Street, I owe you a drink!!!

Kind regards and best wishes always.

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