Those We Lost
Recent passings in the Irish and Irish American community
William Craig, a controversial political leader from Northern Ireland who founded the Ulster Vanguard, died April 25 at the age of 86. Craig’s political career ended in 1979 but his influence on Northern Ireland’s politics will not soon be forgotten.
While studying to become a solicitor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Craig founded the Unionist association. A few years later in 1953, he became chair of the Young Unionist Council, a position he held for several years. Throughout his political career, Craig worked in many areas of government, but he is most known for his time spent as Northern Ireland’s home affairs minister, during the beginnings of the early Civil Rights marches in the 1970’s. He was known for his willingness to use violence to suppress anyone who supported republicanism.
In 1972, he formed the Ulster Vanguard, a right wing group that vowed to resist a non-British regime.Craig began to develop a reputation for giving very provocative and threatening speeches. During one of his speeches he announced, “We must build up the dossiers on the men and women who are a menace to this country, because one day, ladies and gentlemen, if the politicians fail, it will be our duty to liquidate the enemy.” For the last 25 years, Craig has been out of the political spotlight. He was born in Co. Tyrone in 1924 and is survived by his wife and their two sons.
John Delaney, an Irish businessman and founder of the online prediction market website Intrade, died on May 21, 2011, within 160 ft of Mount Everest’s summit.
John Delaney was born near Dublin, Ireland in 1969 and raised in Ballinakill, Co. Laois. He earned an M.B.A. in finance from UCD and worked as an accountant early in his career. In 1999, Delaney founded Intrade, an online non-sports betting site.
On April 9, 2011, Delaney left for the Mount Everest expedition. An avid climber, this was his second attempt to climb Mount Everest after his first attempt five years ago ended due to bad weather. He was one among a climbing team of eighteen, including seven other climbers, eight Sherpas and two additional guides. On Friday, May 20th, the team left their camp at 27,230 feet to attempt to reach the summit. At approximately 28,870 feet, Delaney began to have difficulties and was moved down to 28,700 feet. He collapsed there and was pronounced dead after resuscitation attempts failed. Due to the hazardous conditions at that elevation, his body will remain on the peak.
Delaney is survived by his wife, Orla, his mother, Marcella, his brother and sister, two sons, Caspar and Alexander and his daughter Hope, born three days before his death.
Ryan Dunn, 34, a star on the MTV show Jackass, passed away June 20th after a fatal car crash near his home in West Chester, PA.
Born in Ohio, Dunn moved to Philadelphia when he was 15 years old. On the first day of high school he met his future co-star Bam Margera. The duo began documenting their outrageous stunts and skateboard routines in the 90s, and eventually caught the eye of Johnny Knoxville who featured this footage on Jackass in 2000. Dunn began co-hosting the new show, Proving Ground, a week before he died.
Devastated fans have flocked to the scene of the accident, leaving flowers. A deeply saddened Bam Margera was interviewed at the crash sight. He told the New York Post, “He was the happiest person ever, the smartest person, with so much talent. He had so many things going for him. It’s just not right, it’s not right.”
Police believe Dunn’s Porsche 911 was going 130 mph when it jumped a guardrail, crashed into the woods, and burst into flames. A passenger, Zachary Hartwell, 30, also died in the accident. He had recently been married.
Dunn leaves behind his parents, Ronald Dunn and Linda Piscitello; his stepparents, his fiancée and siblings.
Leading politician, intellectual, economist and two-time Taoiseach of Ireland, Garret FitzGerald left behind a legacy of transformation, integrity and scholarship. The former Taoiseach passed away on May 19, in Dublin’s Mater Private Hospital, following a short illness.
FitzGerald entered politics in 1965, when he was elected to Seanan Éireann. In 1969, he was elected to the Dáil as a TD for the Fine Gael party. There he served as spokesman for education and then spokesman for finance, until Fine Gael came to power in 1973, when then Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave appointed him Minister for Foreign Affairs. His broad understanding of and respect for Europe served him well in this role, as did his fluency in French, and he made many in-roads in terms of Ireland’s relations throughout Europe.
In 1977, Fine Gael lost the general election and FitzGerald was chosen as leader of the party following Cosgrave’s resignation. He served a brief term in office from June 1981 to March 1982, and was again Taoiseach from December 1982 until March 1987. His leadership was marked by great improvements in Ireland’s relationship with Britain. The poignancy of the fact that he died as Queen Elizabeth made her historic trip to Ireland cannot be ignored.
FitzGerald’s life outside of politics was equally rich. He was born in Dublin on February 9, 1926, to a Protestant mother from Northern Ireland and a Catholic father, Desmond FitzGerald, who was Ireland’s minister for external affairs. His parents shared nationalist beliefs and were both present in the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising.
FitzGerald studied history, Spanish and French at University College Dublin, and then qualified as a barrister, though he never practiced law. Instead, he joined Aer Lingus then later entered academia as an economist, earning his doctorate degree in 1969. Until his death, with the exception of his years in office, FitzGerald wrote a lauded, respected, and well-read column for the Irish Times on the economics and politics of Ireland and Europe.
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