Tuesday 23 January 2018

The life of a newspaperman

THE life of Aengus Fanning is best defined by the promise in the parable of the talents that those who use their abilities to the fullest extent will be "set over many things".

A second less likely template is provided by Charles Haughey's claim that "most people live miserable lives". Aengus did not go to the lengths of Mr Haughey to avoid a life lived in a state of mildly distressed banality, but his story is a testament to the possibilities offered by iconoclasm, enthusiasm and genial ruthlessness in the pursuit of excellence. More importantly still, via the pages of the Sunday Independent, he inspired a timorous, post-colonial provincial country to seek better ways of living.

The measure of the span of his editorship was such that when he took over Garret FitzGerald was the Taoiseach, while in an America ruled by Ronald Reagan, future and now past political giants such as Bill Clinton were only a twinkle in the Democrats' eye. In sport Alex Ferguson had still not won the Premier League, while Mick O'Dwyer would win three more All-Irelands with his team of the immortals.

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