The sad passing in recent days of music and entertainment personality Shay Healy signalled the end of an era for many Irish people.
He was undoubtedly one of the great cultural talents of our time. It is hard to fathom just how many areas of our lives he influenced.
Not only was he one of the great Irish songwriters, leading us to Eurovision success with What’s Another Year in 1980, he also played a part in the downfall of one of the most notorious politicians of our time, Charles Haughey.
Who can forget that incredible interview with Sean ‘the Doc’ Doherty in 1992, in Hell’s Kitchen in Castlerea, on Shay’s unmissable TV programme Nighthawks? The ground-breaking interview, though seemingly innocuous at the time, led to a series of events that culminated in the resignation of the now infamous Fianna Fáil leader. Nighthawks in itself was an incredible force of nature and one that seems to have been ahead of its time – the lively chat show format, ostensibly in a busy music venue, with music and comedy in its three-nights-a-week slot.
Witty and warm, Shay Healy was the true epitome of the word ‘gentle man’.
Ní fheicimid a leithéid arís.