Those we lost in 2017 - political leaders, community leaders, writers and musicians
Life & Style

Those we lost in 2017 - political leaders, community leaders, writers and musicians

IN 2017 we bade farewell to political leaders, community leaders, writers and musicians.

In January Sir Christopher Bland, businessman and former chairman of London Weekend Television and member of the Board of Governors of the BBC, died at the age of 78. Of Co. Kerry and Co. Down roots, he had recently embarked on a career as a playwright — his production The Easter Rising — and Thereafter premiered at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London last year.

The world of entertainment also grieved over the death of comedian and writer Sean Hughes, who died in London in October, aged 51.

In London, the music scene was shocked by the death of Carlton Hunt, drummer of The BibleCode Sundays, who died in November, aged 54.

Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald, Michelle O'Neill carry the coffin of Martin McGuinness. (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The North lost former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in March, a former IRA commander turned peacemaker. In the Republic former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave died in October, at the age of 97.

Dubliners' musician Eamonn Campbell died aged 70. (Picture: The Dublin Legends)

The political world in the Republic also paid tribute to Maureen Haughey, who died on March 17 at the age of 91. The daughter of Taoiseach Seán Lemass, Maureen Haughey married Charles Haughey in 1951 and remained his wife for 55 years, through all his triumphs and tribulations.

Kevin McNamara, a Labour MP for almost 40 years and former Shadow Northern Secretary, died in August aged 82. He was one of the few people who actually wanted the job of Northern Secretary — and probably would have made a very good one, but Tony Blair replaced him with Mo Mowlam.

In London, the political community was saddened by the death of Mary Turner at the age of 79. The Tipperary woman, who arrived in north London aged 12, was a trade union and political activist throughout her adult life.

A member of the British Labour Party, she was elected to the National Executive Committee of the party in 1996, and was the Chair of the Labour Party in 2004.

The literary world mourned the passing of Tipperary man Frank Delaney in February, writer, presenter and creator of programmes such as Bookshelf and Word of Mouth on the BBC.

New York born JP Donleavy, who lived for the latter half of his life in Westmeath is best remembered for his books The Ginger Man and A Fairytale of New York. He died in Mullingar in September, aged 91

The world of sport lost one of its most colourful characters in August, the international rugby player Willie Duggan. He was regarded as one of the hardest and most talented back-row forwards in Europe, making 41 appearances for Ireland. The horse-racing world mourned the passing of champion jockey Tommy Carberry in July.

Eamonn Campbell was a member of The Dubliners from 1987 until the group disbanded in 2012. He then became a member of the Dublin Legends. He died in October aged 70.

Bishop Eamonn Casey — a man who left a mixed legacy behind (Picture: RTE)

The Catholic Church said farewell to two of its leading prelates, both of whom had been mired in scandal during their careers. Cardinal Desmond Connell, who died in February, aged 90, was one of a number of senior clergy men criticised for mishandling clerical sex abuse allegations in Dublin.

Bishop Eamonn Casey, who died in March, aged 89, had a mixed record. Responsible for many charitable schemes in parishes from England to Ecuador; he will probably best be remembered for having fathered a son to an American divorcée, Annie Murphy.

His subsequent resignation is seen as a pivotal moment in the affairs of Ireland — the point at which the Catholic Church began to lose its considerable influence in the country.