Tuesday 21 May 2019

Farewell to Pat Comyn, a real gentleman and stalwart of the 'Sunday Independent'


Campbell Spray

"I have fought the good fight… I have kept the faith." The Bible verse read at the Requiem Mass for Pat Comyn - revered long-time Motoring Editor and Assistant Editor with the Sunday Independent - who died last week aged 83, was most suitable in summing up his long career.

Pat, said the joint celebrant, parish priest Monsignor Archdeacon James Carroll, was a man of "deep goodness who was very generous".

I felt this was reflected in his motoring writing in which his motif was to be "kind to people - but don't be too easy on them".

Pat and his much-loved wife Phyllis, who predeceased him in 2008, were the aristocracy of the motoring press. As a couple they were always superbly turned out, massively well respected and loved.

Pat was a hard worker and for years was in charge of the production of the Sunday Independent at the "stone", where pages were made up in "hot metal". It was tough being the bridge between the journalists and the heavily unionised case room staff. But Pat had the knowledge and charm to navigate the paper's passage every week. Much of his holidays and spare time were devoted to his motoring duties involving long flights abroad for international launches.

He was unstinting in his service to the newspaper. However, his funeral service in St Peter's Church in Drogheda last Friday also heard of the committed family man who, according to his son, Paddy, now PR chief for Volkswagen in Ireland, was "a gentleman, a father, a teacher and a friend".

Pat's daughter, broadcaster Alison Comyn, read from a chapter in his autobiography which told of the beginning of his long love affair with Phyllis.

After time on the Drogheda Argus, Limerick Leader and a stint being seconded to the government press relations team in America at the beginning of the Troubles, Pat spent nearly 30 years at the Sunday Independent.

He was a man of deep faith and became a Grand Knight of the Knights of St Columbanus and was a prime mover in the celebrations of St Oliver Plunkett, whose relics are held in St Peter's Church.

In the church a large attendance paid tribute to Pat and his family, while the magnificent Drogheda Male Voice Choir stirred our hearts and souls. Beyond the respect, the faith and the love, people had come to say goodbye to a man who, added Paddy, had a "laugh to break walls".

Pat Comyn taught me a lot, I am very grateful to him. At his funeral I learnt more of his basic goodness.

Sunday Independent

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