Thursday 27 October 2016

A gentleman of his word with a talent for ever-lasting friendship

Published 29/09/2015 | 02:30

The remains of Liam Healy are carried by Vincent Crowley, former Chief Executive of Independent News and Media, with James Cosgrave and Liam’s son Eoin Healy.
The remains of Liam Healy are carried by Vincent Crowley, former Chief Executive of Independent News and Media, with James Cosgrave and Liam’s son Eoin Healy.
Tony O’Reilly Jnr offers his condolences to Liam’s wife Eithne Healy
Harry Crosbie and Gay Byrne
Declan Carlyle, former MD of Independent Newspapers, and Michael Denieffe, former Managing Editor of Independent Newspapers. Photos: Frank McGrath

He was "a real gentleman" and his handshake was "better than anyone else's written contract".

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Famously generous with his knowledge and expertise, the former deputy chairman and chief executive of Independent News & Media, Liam Healy, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 86, was laid to rest yesterday.

Philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman described Mr Healy as "dignified, gentle and compassionate" and had chosen the "raucous world of a global media company in which to conduct a wonderful career".

Mourners at the funeral in the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook, were led by Mr Healy's wife, Eithne, former chairperson of the Abbey Theatre and former Arts Council member; their children Orla, Ciara and Eoin - advertising sales manager at INM.

Grandchildren Orla, Ellie and Harry, Liam, Kate and Sam all played a role in the funeral Mass, fondly recalling memories of their beloved grandfather in prayer - with ice-cream in Herbert Park, trips to the London Eye and "lots of chocolate".

The President was represented at the funeral by his aide-de-camp, Michael Kiernan.

Amongst those in attendance were Kathleen Reynolds, widow to the late Taoiseach Albert Reynolds; broadcaster Gay Byrne; businessman Harry Crosbie and his wife, Rita; Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin; Stephen Rae, editor-in-chief at INM; and James Morrissey, spokesman for Denis O'Brien.

Tony O'Reilly Jnr; writer Emer O'Kelly; Judy Woodworth, president of the Beit Foundation; Senator Maurice Hayes; Sheamus Smith, the former Film Censor; well-known poet Micheal O'Siadhail; and Gary Hynes of the Druid Theatre.

Anne Harris, former 'Sunday Independent' editor; Brendan McCabe, former deputy managing director of INM; Michael Denieffe, former managing editor; Brian Hillery, former chairman of INM; Frank Murray, former INM director; and Joseph Davy, former board member of INM, were all present. Also there were many from Wexford Festival Opera, of which Mr Healy had been a fervent advocate.

Chief Celebrant Rev Dermod McCarthy said the constant care given by Eithne throughout Mr Healy's lengthy illness over almost seven years, was "a case study in love". "Young couples, on the day of their marriage, promise love to their spouse in sickness and in health, all the days of their lives. Here was stark reality in practice," said Rev McCarthy. But he said the love between the couple had "deepened the weaker he became". His great friend Peter Cosgrove, in a tribute, said Mr Healy was equally at home in the boardroom as he was in the outback in Queensland.

"He was a real gentleman," he said, adding that he was "very generous with his information and his knowledge".

"His handshake was better than any man's written contract," Mr Cosgrove said.

There was emotional applause for Eoin Healy as he paid tribute, describing his father's passion for music. He would cut the grass listening to Strauss, he revealed. But his real talent had been the ease in which he formed ever-lasting friendships right across the globe.

His father had lived a great life, he said. And he spoke with poignancy of his father's final illness. "Mum quite simply never gave up on Dad. We had so many special afternoons with so many special friends," said Eoin.

Irish Independent

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