Clancy, Basil (1907–96), publisher, magazine editor, and journalist, was born Anthony Sebastian Clancy in Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, on 7 July 1907, the seventh of the twelve children of Patrick J. Clancy, JP (d. 1947), linen merchant and draper, of Killargy, Co. Leitrim, and Anne Jane Treanor (d. 1960), of Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. His siblings included the author Patricia Boylan (wife of Henry Boylan), and Joseph Clancy, a director of the Easons Advertising agency. The family lived at Coalisland (1907–20) and at Dungannon, Co. Tyrone (1920–24).
Clancy was educated at the Presentation Brothers’ School and St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, St Patrick's College, Armagh, St Malachy's College, Belfast, and the Belfast Technical Institute. An active member of Fianna Éireann, on leaving school he worked for Catherwoods tour operators in Belfast and Kenny's advertising agency in Dublin before moving to Messrs Cahill & Co. Ltd, where he was publications manager. He was later managing director of the Parkside Press Ltd (1940–45), publishers of assorted journals and magazines, including the English Digest and the Irish Digest. Having established himself as a publisher in 1946, he purchased Hibernia (a liberal catholic monthly magazine) from the Knights of Columbanus in 1949 for £370, together with the role of editor. He also edited assorted other publications, among them Junior Digest (an international catholic teenage magazine).
Clancy was a member of An Ríoghacht and a provocative writer on religious affairs, politics, and popular culture. His work Ireland among the nations was published in 1948, and the following year a letter from Clancy to Éamon de Valera (qv) prompted the plan for the establishment of a cultural relations committee in the Department of External Affairs. A republican, he wrote a letter to the Sunday Independent which argued that the only way to end Irish partition was to accept it. The letter was published in the edition for 17 August 1958 and provoked what became known as the Great Debate on partition. In January 1975 Clancy addressed the Grand Orange Lodge of the Cross of St Patrick, Belfast, on the theme of ‘Creativity and destruction in Ireland’.
In 1951 the Kerryman printing company took over Clancy's publishing company and some of the titles lapsed, though in 1954 Clancy bought back Hibernia and Junior Digest with the assistance of the Knights of Columbanus. In January 1968 he sold Hibernia to John Mulcahy and became Irish editor of the Tablet, and from 1967 to 1977 he was advertising and supplements editor of the Irish Times. He also occasionally wrote for the Irish Times under the pseudonym of Hugh North. After his retirement from the Irish Times he established Ogham Crafts Ltd (later known as Ogham Design Ltd), a jewellery manufacturing company.
Active in many catholic associations, including the Christian Family Movement and the Catholic Social Studies Conference, Clancy was a council member of the Federation of Irish Manufacturers, the Catholic Writers Association of Ireland, the Books Association of Ireland, and the Catholic Societies Vocational Organisation Conference. In September–October 1950, on the invitation of the US government, he studied religious journalism in Germany.
Clancy married, on 18 June 1941, Claire Aspell, daughter of Denis and Nan Aspell of Foxrock, Co. Dublin. They had four children, including Fr Donal Clancy, rector and professor of ethics at the Legionarios de Cristo, Rome. In September 1994 Clancy suffered a severe stroke, and died 9 August 1996 at Leopardstown Park Hospital.