In an in-depth profile the New Yorker magazine reveals this week that the father of Irish-born US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power likely drank himself to death at just 47-years of age because he missed her so much after she moved to the US with her mother.
Jim Power is described as “a Dublin piano player, dentist and drinker” and Samantha Power told the magazine she was “extremely close to my father, inseparable.. where we hung out most of the time was the pub.”
However, all wasn't well at home and Samantha’s mother, Vera Delaney, an Irish field-hockey international, had obtained a medical degree and fallen in love with her boss Edmund Bourke at the hospital she practiced in.
Because divorce was not an option the family moved to Pittsburgh when Samantha was nine and later to Atlanta.
Her father died when she was fourteen, apparently of a broken heart. Decades later, on a trip to Ireland, Cass Sunstein, now Power’s husband, said Samantha took him to her father’s old drinking haunt to reflect on the old days.
There was a barmaid there who remembered her father and Power asked her out of all the men who were regulars in the bar, “Why do you think my Dad was the one who died?”
The barwoman answer simply, “It’s because you left.”
Power says now she had no idea he was in bad shape. “I knew he was drinking too much. But I had no idea he was sick – he was just 47 and his death was devastating.”
The New Yorker also reveals that Power was in Ireland after she gave her now infamous interview during the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination. Power was working for Obama at the time when she accused Hillary of being “a monster.”
Power called her mentor Richard Holbrooke from Ireland and asked if he thought it would go away. “He flipped through the channels and said, “Well, you’re leading the ‘Today Show’ so that’s not a good sign.”
Power resigned the next day. Sunstein had arrived in Ireland at the same time with an engagement ring, but decided to hold off his proposal after the Hillary incident.
The New Yorker piece says the relationship with Hillary – even though the two worked together in the Obama administration – is still cold. A former senior official told New Yorker “...I wouldn’t describe them as particularly close.”
Power, who started her career as a daring war correspondent, displayed her toughness yet again when she and Sunstein were married in Kerry on July 4, 2008. Part of the day’s events included a boat ride, which the captain suggested they cancel because of rough seas. She insisted on continuing with boat ride but later regretted it after many guests became sick. “Several puked over the side,” she admitted.