Tributes paid to Maeve Binchy
The writer and journalist Maeve Binchy (72) died peacefully in a Dublin hospital last night after a short illness. Her husband Gordon Snell was by her side.
She was probably one of the best-loved Irish writers of her generation.
President Michael D Higgins said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of her death.
“She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style,” he said. “She was a great storyteller and we enjoyed her capacity to engage, entertain and surprise us. For others, particularly young and aspiring writers, she was not only a source of great encouragement; but also to so many, of practical assistance.
“In recent years she showed great courage and thankfully never lost her self-deprecating humour, honesty and remarkable integrity as an artist and human being.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny today paid his condolences to Mr Snell and the extended Binchy family. "Today we have lost a national treasure. Across Ireland and the world people are mourning and celebrating Maeve Binchy. She is a huge loss wherever stories of love, hope, generosity and possibility are read and cherished.
“Today as a nation we are thankful for and proud of the writer and the woman Maeve Binchy. I offer my deepest sympathies on behalf of the Government and the Irish people to her husband Gordon Snell and extended family."
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said Ms Binchy was "more than a writer. She was storyteller, and one of the best storytellers that Ireland has ever produced."
“Maeve was incredibly generous in every way but in particular she was generous with her own time," he said. "Despite the fact that she was a hugely successful author around the world, she never lost the human touch and would always make a point of taking time to talk to passers-by, well-wishers and supporters."
The Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, said the author had been a life member of the union and had only recently written a special article about her association with it in The Journalist magazine.
"She was a woman of rare charm, warmth and generosity of spirit. Hundreds of journalists have reason to be grateful for her guidance and encouragement. She was always available to young writers and at heart remained a teacher," he said.
"Maeve loved people and her unique insight into human nature shone through her journalism and later her novels. She will be missed for her sense of fun, her humour and for the grace and style which were her hallmark."
He also extended sympathy to her husband.