gentle giant | 

Tributes pour in for actress Caitriona Balfe’s beloved garda father Jim following his death

The former garda sergeant was also described as a ‘great, dignified, caring, and highly respected and regarded man’

Jim Balfe RIP

Caitriona Balfe

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Tributes have been pouring in for Jim Balfe, the father of actress Caitriona Balfe, who has been described as a gentle giant after he passed away yesterday.

Jim, a retired garda sergeant, who was based in Scotstown for over two decades, died in the Mater Hospital.

According to, Jim of Mullantimore, Tydavnet, Co Monaghan, and formerly of Blessington, Co Wicklow, is predeceased by his father Walter, mother Kathy, sisters Margie, Bridie and Angela.

“Jim will be lovingly remembered by his wife Anne, children Deirdre, Kevin, Anne-Marie, Caitriona, Francis, Lorraine & David, daughters-in-law Catherine & Cathy, sons-in-law Paul, Shaun & Tony, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, extended family and friends,” the notice reads.

In the condolences section numerous heartfelt messages have been left by people mourning his loss.

One reads: “We are very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Our sincere condolences to Anne and all the family. Jim was an absolute gentleman. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”

Another adds: “We are very sad to hear of Jim’s passing. He was a true gentleman. We offer our sincere sympathy to Anne and all the family.”

One person has written: “Caitriona, and family, I write for literally the thousands of fans who have posted condolences to you and your family on Facebook at this time. You are loved, and we all wish for you to find peace.

“Please know how much we care, and hurt along with you - for you, our beloved Cait. Prayers. May your dear father Rest-In-Peace. Bless your family. We love you so much!”

Another adds their “sincere condolences to the Balfe family on the passing of Jim, a man I held in such esteem, he was an outstanding member of AGS.

“I worked under him for two years in early 2000’s and his knowledge of everything going on in the Scotstown area was immense, he welcomed all the new members and you always felt better just been in his company, a big man but an even bigger hearted man, Rest in peace.”

Caitriona Balfe

The former garda sergeant was also described as a "great, dignified, caring, and highly respected and regarded man” by his local priest while actor Pat Deery said Jim was a "gentle giant" who was always willing to help.

Pat told Northern Sound that he will be "sorely missed by the community":

“He was affable, genuine,” Pat said. “He was called yesterday a gentle giant and the community here will mourn him, of course. They will mourn him greatly because he wasn't one for sitting and doing nothing.

“He was one for helping at all times, no matter what went on in the village, births, marriages, deaths, funerals, if Jim Balfe as the Sergeant could help out, he certainly would. So he will be sorely missed in the community.”

As proud parents of Caitriona, Jim and her mother Anne said their famous daughter would always be their little “scamp”.

Speaking to RTE earlier this year, her father said she never got carried away.

“She has her baby and her husband, Tony and they’re number one," her dad said.

"We were talking to her last week and she’s so busy. She had ten different journalists from several different countries all doing interviews with her one day. She was worn out from it.

"When she was home in November, we talked about it. If it comes well and good, and if it doesn’t, what about it," said Jim.

In January, Catriona recalled her upbringing as a Garda’s daughter and how her father inspired her.

She said that when the family first arrived in Monaghan it was not exactly an area “that you’re particularly welcomed in, especially in the ’80s”.

“You know, I definitely remember certain families and stuff – they wouldn’t really interact with you because you’re a guard’s daughter or a guard’s family.

“More so in primary school. By the time you get to secondary school, that stuff goes away in the wash, but, for sure, I think it had an effect.

“I think it must have had some kind of influence for sure,” she added. “It’s quite funny to think of my dad – who on one hand was this very strict police garda sergeant, quite stoic, and then on the other hand he was doing skits, maybe dressed up in a wedding dress!

“He was something of a performer and that influenced me. Also, being child number four in a big family had an influence.”

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