A Matter of Life and Death 2020: Ian Milne: policeman, prison officer, peacemaker, funeral director


Ian Milne is one of Northern Ireland’s most respected funeral directors who has businesses in Portadown, Lurgan and Banbridge. But there’s more to Milne than meets the eye. Much more. And in fascinating book “A matter of life and death” leading journalist Ivan Little explores the lesser-known sides to Milne who’s a former policeman, prison offer and peacemaker.

In the latter role he spent years acting as a secret mediator in the poisonous Drumcree dispute in his native Portadown, trying to find a solution to the annual impasse over a contentious Orange Order parade that regularly sparked trouble on the streets of Northern Ireland and saw Milne coming into regular contact with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Significantly, his tireless efforts which brought death threats in their wake, are praised in the book by Portadown Orangemen and by the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition as well as churchmen and business leaders. But Milne also reveals how he was sexually abused as a child; how he could have been killed in a bomb trap ana how a phone call from a doctor stopped him taking his own life in the midst of a financial crisis. But there’s humour too, with Milne recalling how he once fell into a grave during a burial ana how he appeared on radio to tell Gloria Hunniford about his prize-winning goats and his dreams of becoming an actor.


Milne also talks about his passion for motorbike racing as well as his split loyalties as a support of both Portadown and Glenavon Football Clubs.


“A Matter of Life and Death” is a book you won’t be able to put down.