The retirement of Senator Chris Dodd comes as a major shock. He was one of the best friends the Irish ever had in the Senate and he will be sorely missed. I knew he was facing an uphill battle in Connecticut but last time we spoke he was in fighting form.
Chris is that rare bird,a politician who keeps his feet on the ground. Recently I was flying back to Ireland and was surprised to discover Chris sitting back in coach with us , contentedly reading a book, clearly relishing his anonymity. So many other politicians would have demanded first class and all the perks but that was not Chris's way.
He loved Ireland,especially his house in Connemara and he loved to go there in the winter season when he could read his books and take long walks. Ironically the house was one of the reasons he was making negative headlines recently because of allegations he did not pay market price .
He played a great role in the Irish peace process and was always a shoulder to lean on when we needed help on strategy and tactics with the Clinton White House.
He has a young family and a beautiful wife and I'm sure his recent brush with prostate cancer also focused him on what was really important in life.
I'm sure too, he deeply misses his soul mate Ted Kennedy too -- the two were often inseparable. Good luck with everything Chris.