Northern Ireland

Martina Purdy to leave BBC NI for new life in religious congregation

Martina Purdy joined the BBC in 1999 and is leaving to begin a new life in a religious congregation
Image caption Martina Purdy joined the BBC in 1999 and is leaving to begin a new life in a religious congregation

One of BBC News NI's political correspondents, Martina Purdy, is to leave journalism after more than 20 years, for personal reasons.

Martina has decided to choose a different way of life and will be joining a religious congregation.

"I've been a journalist now for almost 25 years, 15 of them at the BBC," Martina said. "It has been an immensely rewarding profession.

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Media captionMartina was known for her determined style of interviewing, getting on the wrong side of First Minister Peter Robinson when she repeatedly questioned him over budget decisions

"I am especially grateful to the BBC for the opportunities I've been given."

She added: "The BBC has always been very supportive of my work.

"I want to wish all my colleagues all the very best both here and at Stormont, especially my friends in the political unit. I shall miss them very much. I also want to wish the politicians well in their future endeavours.

"I'm very grateful for all the support I've had over many years from colleagues, family, contacts and friends."

'New direction'

"I know many people will not understand this decision. It is a decision that I have not come to lightly, but it is one that I make with love and great joy. I ask for prayers as I embark on this path with all humility, faith and trust.

"This is a very personal decision. I ask that the media respect my privacy and that of the religious congregation which I am entering, as I face up to the new challenges of my life. I will not be making any further public comment about this matter."

The Director of BBC NI Peter Johnston said: "We are extremely sad to be losing Martina from BBC NI's political team.

"She has made a big contribution to our political coverage over many years and she will be greatly missed. I wish her well in the new direction she has chosen for her life."

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Media captionMartina also had the opportunity to grill Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly in 2011

Head of News, Kathleen Carragher, said: "Martina Purdy is one of BBC NI's most talented and hardworking correspondents.

"She has contributed a huge amount over the years to BBC NI's output, during a period of significant political developments.

"She has worked on daily and weekly television and radio news programmes, on documentaries, on election specials and on news online. We will miss her wit and wisdom. I wish her happiness and fulfilment in her new life".

Martina will not be making any public comment about her decision, nor will she be giving any interviews.

Image caption Martina said farewell to her 11,000 Twitter followers

Martina joined BBC NI in 1999. Before that she worked for the Belfast Telegraph, from 1993 to 1999, as business editor and then political correspondent. Previously she was employed, from 1991 to 1993, by the Irish News.