Children of well-known broadcaster who died within week of each other


THE DEATHS of Máirín Ní Eithir in Rennes, Brittany, and her brother Aindriú in Dublin, took place exactly one week from each other last month to the intense sorrow of their families and an extremely large and internationally widespread circle of relatives and friends.

Máirín and Aindriú were the children of Catherine von Hildebrand, scion of a distinguished family with branches in Ireland, Colombia and throughout continental Europe.

Their father, the late Breandán Ó hEithir from Inis Mór, Árainn, was a well-known broadcaster, author and significant journalistic contributor to The Irish Times and their great-uncle the renowned writer in English and Irish, Liam O’Flaherty.

Máirín, following school at Scoil Bhríde, Coláiste Íosagáin and Alexandra College in Dublin, completed a degree in Communications at the College of Commerce in Rathmines , now part of the Dublin Institute of Technology.

She left Ireland for Brittany in 1983 to work as a teaching assistant in Lamballe and two years later moved to Rennes which she made her home for the rest of her life.

In the family tradition she was drawn to media and culture and had an abiding interest in politics, literature, the arts and current affairs.

She did not hide her strong preference for François Hollande over Nicolas Sarkozy in the recent French presidential election. She became an organiser of film and literary festivals in France and internationally.

Her work brought her to the United States and also to Sarajevo during the intense fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the course of the civil wars that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

In 2005 she was diagnosed with cancer, which she fought with determination and good humour, supported at all times by the wonderful staff of the Institute Cancerologie Eugène Marquis.

Aindriú was an exception in a family that gravitated towards arts, humanities and communications.

Following school at Scoil Bhríde, Holy Cross National School and Coláiste Eoin in Dublin, he took a degree in Applied Sciences at DIT Bolton Street and went on to work as an information technology consult- ant for companies including ATT, Cable and Wireless, Meteor, Topology and Airspeed in a career in which he was based in Dublin, Los Angeles and Donegal.

A quiet-spoken and gentle young man, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August last year.

A keen reader of history and science fiction, Aindriú is survived by his wife Catherine Kiely from Ballinhassig, Co Cork, whom he married in 1995, and by his three sons Pádraic, Colm and Iain.

Although his scientific bent was unusual in his immediate family, his intense love of sport and in particular of hurling was something he shared with his late father Breandán and passed on to his sons.

Aindriú played for Kilmacud Crokes for a number of years and was heavily involved in St John’s GAA club in Ballinteer, Rathfarnham, as a trainer, fundraiser and supporter.

Aindriú and Máirín are survived by their mother Catherine, brothers Ruairí and Briain, sister Maria, Aunts Máirín and Máiréad and an extended international family.

Máirín Ní Eithir: born December 14th, 1961; died May 23rd, 2012; Aindriú Louis Ó hEithir: born June 18th, 1965, died May 30th, 2012.