A tribute has been paid to veteran economist John Simpson, who has passed away at the age of 90.
Mr Simpson passed away at Antrim Area Hospital on Monday after a short illness.
A former lecturer in economics at Queen’s University, his long career spanned the upper echelons of academia, public life and the media in the North.
Mr Simpson was the longest serving columnist for the Belfast Telegraph and had continued to write for the newspaper and its sister publication, Ulster Business, until shortly before his illness.
Margaret Canning, business editor of the Belfast Telegraph, said: “John has made a huge contribution to our coverage and we will really miss him.
“He was always completely impartial and independent-minded, and that made him the ear of many influential people.
“True to his unwavering work ethic, John was concerned about his deadlines until the very end. We will miss him dearly.”
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said John Simpson “told people what they needed to know, not what they wanted to hear”.
“John’s contribution to the economy over the years has been tremendous,” he said. “He will be sorely missed by economists and non-economists alike.”
Queen’s University senior lecturer and economist Graham Brownlow described Mr Simpson as “a gentleman”.
“He wrote some very fine academic papers on public finance, unemployment and a range of other topics before becoming the ‘go to’ media commentator on Northern Ireland’s economy.”
The former head of Northern Ireland’s civil service, David Sterling, said: “John was a true gentleman and a very good economist.
“Forensic in his analysis—he was one of the few people who read department records—and was never to be taken lightly in an interview. He will be sorely missed. Deepest condolences to his entire family.”
John Simpson is survived by his two daughters, Joanne and Susan, and grandsons Ryan and Connor.