Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Journalists' farewell to reporter Eugene Moloney who died from blow to head

Eugene Moloney

Journalists were out in force on a dreary, dank morning yesterday to say a final farewell to Eugene Moloney, whose newspaper career spanned three decades.

Mr Moloney, who started his career in the Irish News in Belfast, died on Dublin's Camden Street on June 24 after receiving a blow to the head.

The congregation in Our Lady Queen of Peace church on Merrion Road heard the 55-year-old late journalist being described as someone who "enjoyed people ... and also appreciated music".

Parish priest Father Fergus O'Connor spoke of Eugene's "gentleness ... thoughtfulness", adding how "his nieces, nephews and cousins were particular beneficiaries of his generosity".

Chief among the mourners were his brother Sean and his sister Rosin, his girlfriend Chichi Tran who had flown in from Vietnam for his funeral, his brother-in-law John McCaughan, his sister-in-law Margaret Moloney, nephews Joseph and Edward, and nieces Rosemary, Stella and Marguerite.

Eugene's father John, from Tankardstown, Co Limerick died in Birmingham in the 1960s, and the family then moved to Belfast, before settling in Co Donegal.

The journalist often visited his mother Peig in the village of Fahan until her death in 2007.

Indeed, travel had been an important part of the late journalist's life. His career had begun in 'The Irish News' in Belfast before he moved to Dublin in the mid-1980s where he wrote for the 'Evening Herald' and the Irish Independent.

He had recently returned from Vietnam where he had spent several years teaching English, and at the time of his death had been working for the 'Irish Daily Mail'. He reported from Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, and had forged many friendships with journalists while covering the annual July parades in Drumcree. "We soldiered together in Drumcree for years and years," said RTE's Charlie Bird. "He was the loveliest character going."

Also paying tribute at the funeral was Michael Denieffe, managing editor of Independent Newspapers Ireland: "He was gentle, affectionate, exasperating and a thorough professional," he said.

Among those in attendance were Eddie Cunningham, senior deputy editor, Irish Independent; Cormac Bourke, chief news editor, Irish Independent; Dave Halloran, former deputy group news editor, Irish Independent; Stephen Rae, editor of the 'Evening Herald', Liam Collins, news editor 'Sunday Independent', Patsy McGarry and Colm Keena of 'The Irish Times', Senan Molony and Paul Drury of the 'Irish Daily Mail', and RTE's Feargal Keane.

There were also several faces from the music industry -- Eugene was often seen at small gigs in venues around the city centre. He was particularly proud of the fact that his nephew, Oisin Leech, was a member of Irish band The Lost Brothers.

RTE's Dave Fanning recalled meeting Eugene last December. "I walked over the Ha'penny Bridge with him and we stood chatting for about 20 minutes," he said. "He wouldn't stop talking about the importance of having a vinyl record collection," he laughed.

There was music during the simple funeral service from harpist Deirdre Seaver. And there was a moving musical farewell as Eugene's coffin was taken from the church at the end to begin his final journey to St Mura's in Fahan where he will be buried alongside his mother.

On guitars from the altar his nephew Oisin and bandmate Mark McCausland played 'Forever Young' by Bob Dylan -- a song that Fr O'Connor said "typified for many what Eugene was". And the words were poignant. "May you grow up to be righteous/May you grow up to be true/May you always know the truth /And see the lights surrounding you/May you always be courageous /Stand upright and be strong/May you stay forever young".

But as the coffin passed by the solemn congregation, smiles crept onto many faces of those who had known him. For sitting atop the casket was his familiar brown leather brimmed hat, which had accompanied him on his many adventures.

Very rock and roll, Eugene.

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