Alan Ruddock 1960 – 2010 RIP

Alan Ruddock, who had survived Hodgkin’s disease, died on May 30 after
collapsing while playing in a cricket match in Dublin. His wife and three
sons survive him. Born in Dublin on July 21 1960, Alan Stephen Dennis
Ruddock was educated at St Columba’s College, Whitechurch near the Grange
Golf Club, and Trinity College Dublin, where he started to read Law. He was
an eclectic and multi-talented journalist and editor of The Scotsman from
1998 to 2000, the period which saw devolution and the creation of the
Scottish Parliament.

When he failed his first year exams at TCD (the head of the Law faculty was
Mary McAleese, now Ireland’s president) he switched to History, graduating
in 1983.

Deciding that career prospects for a journalist would be better abroad,
Ruddock then left for South Africa, where he found a job on Business Day
magazine. On his return in 1986 he married his long-time girlfriend, Jackie
Kilroy, the daughter of Howard Kilroy, later Governor of the Bank of

Ruddock worked on the City desk of Today newspaper in London, where was
promoted to City editor and was known for his encouragement of younger
colleagues and for his generosity in handing out cigarettes to anyone who
passed his desk.

He then returned to Dublin and a job on the Irish Independent, where he
exhibited a sense of mischief and a talent for puncturing pomposity. In the
early 1990s he was hired as a business reporter by Andrew Neil’s Sunday
Times, where one morning he arrived at the office to announce proudly that
he was the owner of a brand new Mercedes, which he had won in the Clontarf
Rugby Club raffle the previous weekend.

Ruddock was appointed editor of The Sunday Times’s Irish edition in 1996,
and famously took on Thomas “Slab” Murphy – believed to have been the IRA’s
chief of staff – in a high-profile libel action which the newspaper won.

Among Ruddock’s passions was sport – particularly rugby, football and
cricket – about which he wrote (predominantly for the Irish Independent and
the Sunday Independent) with great eloquence and style.

After leaving The Sunday Times Ruddock was recruited to join the Sunday
Express under its new editor Sue Douglas (wife of the historian Niall
Ferguson), but this experience proved short-lived – after receiving a
generous pay-off from the then Express chairman, Lord Hollick, Ruddock
proceeded to have a tennis court built at his handsome house in Tullow, Co
Carlow, christening it “The Lord Hollick Court”.

There followed two short spells, one working for David Montgomery, his
former boss at Today, on a revival of the Sporting Life, and another
working for Bloomberg, which was investigating launching a rival in Europe
to the Financial Times.

But it was in 1998, when he was appointed editor of The Scotsman, that
Ruddock blossomed. He oversaw the move of the newspaper’s offices from its
traditional headquarters on Edinburgh’s North Bridge to its current
location on Holyrood Road, close to what is now the Scottish parliament
building. While in the editor’s chair he was fastidious about reporting the
comings and goings at Holyrood, encouraged good reporting and penalised the

Ruddock left the editor’s chair at The Scotsman in 2000 and returned to his
native Ireland, where he wrote extensively for The Irish Independent and
produced a best-selling book on Michael O’Leary, the head of Ryanair.

Recently at St Columbas’ College, I spoke to the Church of Ireland priest
at the school only a few weeks ago at a school’s cricket match and when I
mentioned Ivan Yates and Shane Ross, he asked me did I know Alan Ruddock. I
told him that I met him at a radio station and read his work in the Indo.
He was dry economically and wrote with a lucid clarity on politics, the
economy and sport. I am very surprised when I read of his death and am very
sorry that he died. I offer my condolences to his family.