Seamus McCarthy


Can it be over 50 years since the world was young and we were assault-course fit, running and swimming in battle order? Seamus McCarthy, Douglas Gageby, Herbert McWilliam, the forthright Johnny McCabe, Simon Deignan, the Cavan footballer, and 20 or so others: it was a mixed and hard-driven officers' course, drawn from all over the Army. Many are gone and our instructors with them - Capts John Joe O'Reilly, Joe Crowe, John Larkin and Doney O'Riordan, Lieut Paddy Allen, and the born leader, Comdt Charles McGoohan - a man dedicated to hard, realistic training. The indestructible Larry Corr remains with us.

And now Seamus is gone - ever cheerful, a lifter of spirits, quietly encouraging when someone felt down, a hurling goalkeeper for Army Metro (who remembers them?) and Dublin.

A goalkeeper at inter-county level is a special man. Stopping a hard ball, driven by the shoulders of a senior hurler from 10 yards out, needs sharp eyesight, instinctive anticipation and the nerve to face charging forwards in goal-mouth melees.

After commissioning in 1943, Seamus became Asst-Adjutant of the 4th Infantry Batallion in Fermoy. He was an excellent administrator, quick to clear paperwork. This made time for the extra duties, mainly involving troop welfare, which that astute judge of officers, the late Maj J. P. Murphy, gave him.

After the Emergency, he went back to the fur business and then worked as a medical representative, before becoming administrator in the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf. Administration of a caring institution made good use of his talents and instincts. People with problems - patients and staff alike - found his door always open.

Behind an active and varied career there was an unobtrusive internal life. The example he gave, the quiet way he touched the lives of others and the amount of voluntary work and parish activities he took on before and after retirement - few knew the details. He kept it so.

The roots of his caring generosity lay in a deep religious faith. It is unfashionable to speak of this nowadays, but it permeated his life - in the Army, in business and in the CRC. He died on the way to perform a simple service for a neighbour.

His friends from the present and the long ago send sympathy to Mary and his family for the loss of a good man who is surely imithe ar sli na firnne.