Michael O’Regan remembered as an ‘interested observer’ who had ‘no wish to be the story himself’

Funeral of former Irish Times journalist held in Holy Cross Church, Dundrum

From a very early age the late journalist Michael O’Regan’s daughter Deirdra Schroeder knew he was no ordinary father.

“One of my earliest memories of him is sitting in a cafe in the old Pye Centre in Dundrum watching night vision footage on the TV while he explained the intricacies and nuances of the beginning of the first Gulf War – I was four,” she told the congregation at his funeral Mass on Saturday.

Speaking in Holy Cross Church, Dundrum, Dublin, she recalled how when she and her sister Alyson were growing up “he was always singing – in the flamboyant style of a great tenor, but without the talent.”

Another early memory was of sitting on the stairs listening as he, allegedly, called Fossett’s circus “to ask if I could join. I had earlier refused to leave after a performance – I’d decided circus life was for me”. After the “call” he “kindly explained that the manager said I could definitely join, but I must finish school and do well in my exams first.”


Her father “genuinely had no personal or political ideology beyond following what he believed to be right and fair”; he was an “interested observer and a storyteller – he had no wish to be the story himself.”

He was “self-deprecating and always happy to be the butt of the joke” who never took himself too seriously “despite moving in circles of power and influence that a boy from the foot of a mountain in 1950s Kerry could have only dreamed of”.

Micheal O’Regan started out as a reporter in the Kerryman newspaper, going on to become Irish Times parliamentary correspondent, as well as working as a political analyst and broadcaster.

The Mass was celebrated by Canon Liam Belton, assisted by Fr Anthony Gaughan and Fr Michael Commane OP, with readings by Jerry O’Sullivan of the Kerry Today programme on Radio Kerry, and Frank O’Regan. Prayers of the Faithful were read by Mary Shanahan, Cathaoirleach of the Kerry Association, and the reflection Choose to Live a Life that Matters was by Liam Caldwell.

Symbols brought to the altar as the Mass began included flowers, in recognition of Michael’s love of nature, a newspaper (the Kerryman), a book to indicate his love of learning, and a Kerry flag acknowledging one of the great passions of his life, his native county.

Cmdt Deirdre Newell represented President Michael D Higgins.

Chief mourners were Elizabeth, daughters Deirdra and Alyson, sons-in-law Jeff and Phil, grandchildren Luna and Levi, siblings Frank, Eilish, Gerard and Marie, sisters-in-law Una and Sheela.

Cremation took place afterwards at the Mount Jerome Crematorium in Dublin’s Harold’s Cross.

Of the large attendance, many were fellow journalists and included Irish Times editor Ruadhán MacCormaic, group managing director of The Irish Times Deirdre Veldon, former editor Kevin O’Sullivan, Political Editor Pat Leahy, Group Head of News Mediahuis Ireland Kevin Doyle, Ireland Editor at Mediahuis Fionnán Sheahan, former managing director Kerryman newspaper Bryan Cunningham, RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan, David McCullagh, and Katie Hannon, Danny Healy-Rae TD, Frances Fitzgerald MEP, former Senator Joe O’Toole, Prof Brigid Laffan, Shane Ross, Vincent Browne, Ger Colleran.

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Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times