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'Loving husband' Former RTÉ journalist Jim Fahy laid to rest in his native Tuam, Co Galway

Fr Farragher told mourners at Tuam Cathedral this afternoon that Mr Fahy was “known to many far and wide through his vocation as a journalist and broadcaster but known best to you as a husband, dad, and granddad”.


Jim Fahy

Jim Fahy

Jim Fahy

Former RTÉ journalist Jim Fahy has been described as an “extraordinary” and devoted family man, a “true son of Galway and the oak of the west”.

A native of south Galway, Mr Fahy was laid to rest in his adopted home of Tuam this afternoon.

He was RTÉ’s western correspondent for 37 years and left behind him a “rich legacy” which Father Pat Farragher said his family could be proud of and take comfort in.

Fr Farragher told mourners at Tuam Cathedral this afternoon that Mr Fahy was “known to many far and wide through his vocation as a journalist and broadcaster but known best to you as a husband, dad, and granddad”.

Mr Fahy attended secondary school at Garbally College, Ballinasloe before joining the Tuam Herald in 1965. He made the move into broadcast journalism with RTÉ in 1974 where he worked until his retirement in 2011.


Jim Fahy/RTE

Jim Fahy/RTE

Jim Fahy/RTE

He passed away among family at his home in Gardenfield on Saturday, following a battle with cancer.

Today, Mr Fahy’s daughter and son, Aideen and Shane, delivered a joint eulogy, in which they described their father as an “incredible” husband, father and grandfather.

Aideen said her father “touched the lives” of many people around the world and the family have been “moved by the outpouring of love and respect” they have received since his passing.

“Dad, we don’t understand why, but this is your time. You had so much more life to live. We were sure we would still be making wonderful, new memories for the years to come.”

She added said it was not her father’s first battle with cancer and as children they received “lovely” letters from him while he was being treated in St Luke’s Hospital.

“This time, he fought it exactly like the last. Quietly, privately and bravely. He fought for the chance of a million new memories, thousands of nautical miles sailed with his friends, hundreds of hours spent amusing his grandchildren and at a least a few more Ryanair specials to eastern Europe with mum, but it wasn’t to be.”

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Ms Fahy said her father found the “two great passions of his life”, “our mother Christina and journalism”, when he “hitch-hiked” his way to Tuam as young man.

“As his career progressed, he moved from radio to the newsroom. He relished this portion of his life. He loved reporting the news and was energised with the challenge of being first with the story.

“His passion for the west was so strong, that at times I felt sorry for his long-suffering boss… and especially the editors in Dublin. If you ever cut one of Jim Fahy’s pieces, there would be a long call asking for an explanation as to why that story was more important than the story of the west on the day,” she said.

Ms Fahy added that while many people have described her father as the “voice of the west”, to them he was more importantly the “ears of the west”.

“Jim had a huge capacity to listen to and connect with people. As President Higgins said on dad’s retirement, ‘every single thing that happened in the west of Ireland – be it political, or cultural or international – the first thing people would say to each other was, we have contacted Jim Fahy’.”

Mr Fahy’s three grandchildren Dylan, Amy and Hugh brought forward symbols from their grandfather’s life; his microphone and a photograph of him outside the World Trade Centre in New York, clay from the Fahy homestead in Glanmeen, Kilreekill, Co Galway and a photograph of Mr Fahy’s sailing boat the Mayhem.

Mr Fahy’s son Shane said his father was a “committed family man” who threw himself into the role of grandfather with as much energy as he did his career.

“It was also the time of ‘camp Gardenfield’ when grandchildren would be sent west to the loving care of Grandma and Grandpa for a week or two in the summer.

"So much fun was had and loved shared.”

He said his father continued his “life’s passion” of sailing well into retirement and at 65 years he completed a 4,000km transatlantic sailing journey with a group of friends.

Shane Fahy said as well making his mark as a western correspondent, his father also began working on international projects during the 1970s which culminated in successes such as his landmark interview with Mother Teresa.

He said his father also had a number of failures which he also “celebrated”, such as being deported from South Africa while trying to interview Nelson Mandela.

“He was never worried by the failures, sharing a similar philosophy to Beckett – that all success is due to failure and all advances in knowledge come about as a result of failed attempts.”

His final challenge was as an author according to his son. Jim Fahy had been working for some time with the Williamstown and Youngstown historical societies to write a biography about the former poet and union organiser Michael McGovern.

“This was a story so important to dad that he worked on it until the end. It was my honour to give the final edit to Leo and Eileen (Finnegan) a few days before dad passed away.”

Mr Fahy added that his father was “one of those very few people who knew who he was and what he wanted to do an what he was capable of”.

“I fully believe that no man dies until their name is spoken for the last time. With dad I know that his name is going to live for a very long time,” he added.

Shane Fahy’s final words in memory of his father received a large round of applause from all those present in Tuam Cathedral: “You were a scholar, a gentleman, a loving husband, a great father, a true son of Galway and the oak of the west.”

Jim Fahy’s family were supported at his funeral mass by his friends, former colleagues from print and broadcast media, the Archbishop of Tuam Francis Duffy and Colonel Stephen Howard who represented President Michael D Higgins at the service.

He was laid to rest in Kilbannon Cemetery, Tuam, Co Galway.

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