Saturday 24 September 2016

Downey an unrivalled observer of Irish life

Published 22/04/2016 | 02:30

It has been said one's opinion of the world can also amount to a confession of one's character. This was certainly true for distinguished author and outstanding journalist James Downey, who has died. From the 1950s Jim honed his craft to become a master wordsmith in Irish journalism. As President Higgins aptly said of this gentle Leitrim man: "He will be remembered as one of Ireland's most committed journalists and editors and as having made a lasting imprint on journalism through his deep knowledge of the world of news and public affairs."

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His opinions helped electrify and define debate in these very columns for more than two decades.

Erudite, self-effacing and always affable, he forged an unrivalled reputation as a commentator and searing observer of Irish life.

His unassuming manner concealed a sharp inquiring mind which greatly enhanced every publication he ever wrote for. He wore his talent lightly and would recoil at the notion of acclaim. All the same, credit where credit is due. In the words of the Bard: "How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world..."

Jim Downey's words lightened and warmed our weary worlds.

Irish Independent

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