Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox reflects on passing of close friends in 2019

Mattie Fox


Mattie Fox



Eugene McGee

Former Longford Leader editor Eugene McGee

I turned 70 just before Christmas, and was doubly reminded of the passing years when I reflected on all the friends I lost during 2019.

Matt O'Hara, a Ballinalee man left this world on March 14, almost 101. I was more friendly with his son, but equally enjoyed Matt.

Left a big space to fill around the Ballinalee area.

Eugene McGee was next to go, and his passing really shocked me, even though I knew he was quite unwell. He was a genuine friend.

His death occurred on May 5, at age 77. I’ll miss the rare lunches.

Brendan Grace, everybody’s favourite, I met back in the early 70’s.

Brendan was a wonderful human being, who was well prepared to go to another place. His quips were sharp, humorous and immediate, one would leave his company, every time, laughing hearty. Talk of Brendan brings back his jokes and pure humour.

He got the call on July 11, aged 68. A young man, by current trends, but he had lung cancer.

A big chasm in the comedy stakes.

On November 4, I got a phone call early, telling me that Gay Byrne had finally succumbed, after a long illness, aged 85.
Gay died at home, in Howth.

Strange, but that death hit me sort of hard.

Full of great memories from times spent in his company, he was a great man, great habits, very religious, and all done very privately.

He was a special man, in many ways.

The last to pass was Niall Tóibín.

The Corkonian who had a wicked turn of phrase.

Someone I knew well too.

Five people that I knew, most very, very well, are no more.

All passed from this world in 2019.

It’s a clear reminder that we’re of scant importance.