Former Longford Leader editor Eugene McGee
Since the unexpected death of Eugene McGee back in May a lot has been written and spoken about him, centreing on his integrity and real independence of mind. This, of course, is unarguable as were the references to his personal kindness and his respect for, and understanding of, rural Ireland and the community in which he lived and worked. And there are few who could argue in relation to his insights and understanding of Gaelic games and the GAA.
During his time as managing editor of the Longford Leader, the Longford Association in Dublin experienced Eugene’s readiness to help in any way required. Whether this involved writing a piece for some of our publications – which were invariably completed with exactitude ahead of time – granting valuable Leader space to publicise association events, or seeking sponsorship from the Leader, there was never any quibble. Busy though his life was, his promises were always kept and he always made us feel he appreciated what the Longford community in Dublin was doing.
Eugene McGee was one of our great supporters down in the home county and was a regular attender at our annual dinner, and often at the last minute if asked to say a few words about the guest of the night he would immediately jot down a few words on the back of an envelope and within minutes deliver an entertaining and coherent speech, as though it was long in the planning. He had that rare gift. Many of the association committee recall the night in 2000 that our dear departed friend, Padraic Gearty, was our honoured guest; Eugene was highly entertaining having a gentle go at Padraic, his demeanour remaining serious throughout. Padraic so enjoyed that part of the night.
Seventeen years earlier in 1983, Eugene McGee occupied that same chair when he was our honoured guest. He was an obvious choice as an All-Ireland winning manager with Offaly the year before, thus stopping Kerry from achieving their much sought after five-in-a-row, a record still to be broken by any county – unless this is to be the history-making year!
To his wife, Marian, son Conor, daughter Linda, daughter-in-law Saoirse, sisters Ita O’Dowd and Evangeline Cummins, extended family and a wide circle of friends, the Longford Association extends its deepest condolences.