They did the State some service
John Cooney remembers with respect and affection three very different Irishmen with one similar aim in life
They were three quite different personalities but each was committed to making Ireland a better and more just place. Their contributions to politics, religion and public service made a difference to their times. All three are now linked in history for dying in close proximity on the final days of 2009 and in sharing glowing obituaries over the New Year period.
Both Cardinal Cahal Daly (92) and Justin Keating (79), a former Minister for Industry and Commerce, died on New Year's Eve, while the previous day saw the passing of Dermot Nally (82), a sagacious secretary general to successive governments.
All three were intellectual giants who used words fluently to spread their ideas. They were old-fashioned do-gooders with strong personal convictions who stand out from the political corruption, the get-rich individualism and the cult of youth that marked the Noughties.