JOAN PAYS TRIBUTE TO JAMES DOWNEY

It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of James Downey, and my sympathies today are with his wife, Moira and his daughters Rachel and Vanessa.

Jim was without doubt one of Ireland’s finest journalists and he served as a distinguished newsman at local and national level for over five decades.

In recent years, his opinion pieces in the Irish Independent provided a valuable insight into just how Ireland worked, in weekly columns that were as incisive as they were considered. And while his commentary was often sharp, he never resorted to personal invective, nor set out to cause personal offence.

Jim was part of the radical generation that came to the fore in the 1960’s, and as somebody who cared passionately about social justice, stood as a candidate for the Labour Party in the 1969 General Election.

He believed in an Ireland that should be modern, progressive, caring and inclusive and was often frustrated, quite justifiably, when politics and politicians failed to step up to the mark in that regard.

Jim will be sorely missed by his family, his friends and his colleagues.