Mr Walker would be a very familiar face to anyone who remembers the most traumatic years of The Troubles, since he was the main Political Correspondent on the Province from the early 1970s until 1983. He covered many major issues, including the Widgery Tribunal in the Bloody Sunday killings, the 1974 strike, which brought down the original power-sharing Executive and the traumatic IRA Hunger Strikes of 1980 and 1981.
In response to students’ questions, Mr Walker said that the BBC had generally managed to resist governmental interference in its coverage of these very difficult and contentious events and that he was proud of its unbiased and impartial reporting. His biggest difficulty, coming as he did from Northern Ireland himself, was the sometimes hostile reception he received from locals, who were often too ready to regard impartiality as favouring one side or the other of this highly divided community.
The students are taking a level 6 optional module 1HIS656 The Troubles: Britain and Northern Ireland 1968-1998. They will shortly be departing on a three-day field trip to Northern Ireland.