Tributes to Seán Flynn, a journalist of the ‘highest integrity’

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore among circle of admirers mourning ‘Irish Times’ education editor

Seán Flynn’s death was decribed as “a loss both for Irish journalism and for higher education”.

Seán Flynn’s death was decribed as “a loss both for Irish journalism and for higher education”.


The death of Seán Flynn was greeted with sadness yesterday by a large circle of admirers in the worlds of politics, journalism, education and trade unionism.

Among the many who paid tribute were Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who described Flynn as a journalist of the “highest integrity”.

“Seán was never afraid to tackle sacred cows nor was he ever too concerned when, as often happened, a story he wrote upset somebody or other. In fact he considered that to be part and parcel of his role as a reporter.”

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn also expressed his condolences.

“Seán was an incisive journalist with a gift for finding a good story. He was clearly passionate about education and unafraid to give his opinions, no matter who may have been offended,” he said. Yet he was always good company and ever the gentleman.

“Irish journalism has today lost one of its great practitioners. Seán will be missed.”

Flynn was “a gifted journalist with a passion for education and communicating it to a wide audience”, said Tom Boland, chief executive of the Higher Education Authority.

Foremost commentator
Sheila Nunan, general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, said he was an outstanding journalist and one of the State’s foremost commentators on educational issues.

“His professionalism was matched by his unfailing sense of humour and love of life. He will be sadly missed by those in the education community who knew him.”

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland expressed its sadness, as did the Teachers Union of Ireland. He was a journalist “with a huge passion for education issues”, said TUI general secretary John Mac Gabhann. “Everything he did was imbued with a rooted decency and great good humour. His loss will be keenly felt.”

Flynn’s death “is a loss both for Irish journalism and for higher education”, said Dr Maurice Manning, chancellor of the National University of Ireland.

He played a valuable role “in contributing to public understanding of the transformative effect of university education on the individual and on society as a whole and also in providing a necessary and healthy critique of the sector”, Dr Manning said.

Honesty and integrity
Former Irish Times editor Conor Brady referred to Flynn’s “enormous honesty and integrity” among his many personal qualities. He dealt with contentious news areas but built trust while doing so.

“That, along with an innate sense of news judgment, made him one of the outstanding journalists of his generation.”