Henry McDonald (writer)

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Henry McDonald is a journalist and author. Formerly a correspondent for The Guardian and Observer,[1] since 2021 he has been the political editor of The News Letter, one of Northern Ireland's national daily newspapers, based in Belfast.

McDonald has written extensively about the Troubles and related issues. He was born in the Irish nationalist Markets area of Belfast and attended St. Malachy's College. McDonald was formerly involved in the Workers' Party of Ireland, a left-wing party that emerged from Sinn Féin in the early 1970s and was associated with the Official IRA. He travelled to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) with the youth wing of SFWP in the early 1980s.[2]

Much of his writing concerns paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, like the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). He has written a book on the INLA, INLA - Deadly Divisions, which he co-authored with the now deceased Jack Holland. The book was first published in 1994 and has since been re-printed and updated.

More recently, McDonald has written on Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups and has co-authored books on the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and UDA with Jim Cusack.[3] He also wrote a biography of Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader David Trimble, a personal biography Colours: Ireland - From Bombs to Boom[4] and in 2017, Martin McGuinness: A Life Remembered.[5] He was, for a period, a security correspondent for the BBC in Belfast. During the 1990s he was a staff reporter at Belfast newspaper The Irish News, where he edited the youth pages.

In 2017, he released his first novel, The Swinging Detective.[6] In September 2019, he released his second novel, Two Souls, with Merrion Press.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He briefly attended Edinburgh University before gaining a degree from University College Dublin.[citation needed]

McDonald is a supporter of Cliftonville and Everton. He has two daughters and a son from marriage. He also spent 12 years with author June Caldwell,[8] living some of that time in Dublin where he taught journalism and feature writing at the Dublin Business School and the Irish Writers Centre.[9]



  • McDonald, Henry; Holland, Jack (1994). INLA deadly divisions. Dublin: Torc. ISBN 189814205X.
  • McDonald, Henry (2017). Martin McGuinness: A Life Remembered. Belfast: Blackstaff Press. ISBN 9781780731681.
  • Cusack, Jim; McDonald, Henry (2008). UVF: The Endgame. Dublin: Poolbeg Press. ISBN 9781842233269.



  1. ^ "Henry McDonald". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015. Henry McDonald is Ireland correspondent for the Guardian and Observer.
  2. ^ aan de Wiel, Jérôme (2014). East German Intelligence and Ireland, 1949-90: Espionage, Terrorism and Diplomacy. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 54. ISBN 9781526107411. Archived from the original on 18 December 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  3. ^ McDonald, Henry & Cusack, Jim UDA: inside the heart of loyalist terror
  4. ^ Colours: Ireland - From Bombs to Boom
  5. ^ McDonald, Henry. Martin McGuinness: A Life Remembered. ASIN 178073168X.
  6. ^ "The Swinging Detective, by Henry McDonald". Easons. 7 September 2017. Archived from the original on 22 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Two Souls | Irish Academic Press". Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Room Little Darker, by June Caldwell". Head of Zeus. Archived from the original on 18 December 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  9. ^ "How I Write - Henry McDonald". 10 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 June 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.

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