Friday 21 October 2016

Passionate pioneer

Published 29/01/2013 | 17:00

Eamon de Buitlear – conservationist, film-maker, writer and musician – educated a generation of young Irish people in environmental issues. Thousands of them still remember with affection his TV programmes from an earlier age, Amuigh Faoin Speir (Out beneath the sky) co-produced with Gerrit van Gelderen.

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Affection is a word likely to spring to mind in any remembrance of de Buitlear. His voice and manner were gentle, his personality attractive. And his sincerity in promoting environmental awareness was unmistakable.

The gap left by his death at the age of 83 will be filled – to a great extent has already been filled – by a new breed of campaigners, more vocal and forthright as befits the age of global warming. His legacy? He pioneered conservation as an issue in a country which had been largely ignorant or indifferent.

But the strides made in these areas have too often been cancelled out by thoughtless self-interest which has called as frequently for bad planning as for the purity of its own back yard.

The next generation will have to undertake a massive repair job. Eamon de Buitlear's memory should give it inspiration.

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