Final farewell to journalist 'who loved his country'
JOURNALIST Alan Ruddock "loved his country but felt duty-bound to point out its flaws because he knew it was the right thing to do to", his funeral Mass was told yesterday.
Hundreds of mourners turned out for the 'Sunday Independent' journalist's funeral at St Patrick's Church in Dalkey, Co Dublin.
A large portrait of Mr Ruddock in an orange casual shirt, his eyes twinkling with secret amusement, stood at the church door to greet those who had come to mourn his loss, together with his wife, Jackie; teenage sons Cameron, Daniel and Matthew; his father, John, and sister Gillian.
Key figures from media, publishing and financial circles who attended included his 'Sunday Independent' editor, Aengus Fanning and deputy editor Anne Harris; group chief operating officer of Independent News & Media Vincent Crowley, and CEO of TV3, David McRedmond.
Political spin-doctor PJ Mara, Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly and journalists Vincent Browne, Kevin Myers and Sam Smyth were present along with several former colleagues at 'The Scotsman', former Olympic runner Ronnie Delaney and Michael O'Doherty of 'VIP'.
Mr Ruddock's sudden and premature death a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday was described as an "unspeakably sad occasion" since he still had a huge amount to contribute to his family, friends and to the wider community.
Canon Ben Neill said Mr Ruddock had loved his country but highlighted its flaws and did so because "he knew it was right".
In a moving address, Mr Ruddock's friend, former Archbishop of Dublin Walton Empey, said that as well as his superb journalism, Mr Ruddock also had many other loves in his life, including cricket. He added that he also remembered him as a "rather rough hockey player".
He recalled numerous photographs of the Ruddock family on their back porch, saying they had loved to travel together.
Alan could be "very grumpy", he said, laughing as he described how, as a neighbour of his in Tullow, Co Carlow, he knew to gauge when it was not the right time to "approach him and tell him of your admiration of the Government".
In a brief letter, read aloud at the close of the service, Mr Ruddock's wife, Jackie, urged the congregation not too feel "too sad".
"Alan and I and the boys had a great life together," she said, adding that they had never put off the things that they wanted to do.
The family were stunned by the reaction to Alan's passing, she said, thanking everybody and saying the family felt they had been blessed.
Following the service, the simple pine coffin was removed for burial at Kinneagh Church in Ballyhackett, Co Carlow.