Tributes paid to Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy was one of the best loved Irish writers of her generation.
Maeve Binchy was one of the best loved Irish writers of her generation.


The writer and journalist Maeve Binchy (72) died peacefully in a Dublin hospital last night after a short illness. Her husband Gordon Snell was by her side.
She was probably one of the best-loved Irish writers of her generation.

President Michael D Higgins said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of her death.
“She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style,” he said. “She was a great storyteller and we enjoyed her capacity to engage, entertain and surprise us. For others, particularly young and aspiring writers, she was not only a source of great encouragement; but also to so many, of practical assistance.
“In recent years she showed great courage and thankfully never lost her self-deprecating humour, honesty and remarkable integrity as an artist and human being.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today paid his condolences to Mr Snell and the extended Binchy family. "Today we have lost a national treasure. Across Ireland and the world people are mourning and celebrating Maeve Binchy. She is a huge loss wherever stories of love, hope, generosity and possibility are read and cherished.
“Today as a nation we are thankful for and proud of the writer and the woman Maeve Binchy. I offer my deepest sympathies on behalf of the Government and the Irish people to her husband Gordon Snell and extended family."
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said Ms Binchy was "more than a writer. She was storyteller, and one of the best storytellers that Ireland has ever produced."
“Maeve was incredibly generous in every way but in particular she was generous with her own time," he said. "Despite the fact that she was a hugely successful author around the world, she never lost the human touch and would always make a point of taking time to talk to passers-by, well-wishers and supporters."
The Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, said the author had been a life member of the union and had only recently written a special article about her association with it in The Journalist magazine.
"She was a woman of rare charm, warmth and generosity of spirit. Hundreds of journalists have reason to be grateful for her guidance and encouragement. She was always available to young writers and at heart remained a teacher," he said.
"Maeve loved people and her unique insight into human nature shone through her journalism and later her novels. She will be missed for her sense of fun, her humour and for the grace and style which were her hallmark."
He also extended sympathy to her husband.
The Irish Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan said Ms Binchy had brought the essential qualities of the best journalists to all her writing - an insatiable curiosity about people and ear for dialogue.
"Her acute, sympathetic observation of the lives of others was at the heart of her hugely popular columns in The Irish Times, many of which were inspired by stray, overheard conversations, and of her bestselling novels, which told universal stories about friendship, family and love," he said.

"As Women’s Editor of The Irish Times, she was in the vanguard of giving a voice to a generation of Irish women who were determined to play their full part in reshaping society."
Mr O'Sullivan added: "Unfailingly generous and thoughtful, Maeve was loved by everyone she worked with at The Irish Times and she maintained a close relationship with the newspaper right up to her death. Her unique style transcended novels, short stories, letter-writing and beautifully-crafted journalism. Along with millions of her readers around the world, her colleagues here will miss her sorely.”

She will be cremated in a private ceremony following removal on Friday morning to the Church of the Assumption, Dalkey.

Much more at The Irish Times