The YOUNG Cub reporters who climbed the dark, apprehensive stairs to the former Irish Independent offices on Dublin’s Middle Abbey Street were instantly reassured by Dave Halloran’s presence.
beset by the smell of hot metal and newspaper and the mind-boggling tone of an action-packed newsroom running at full speed, the tall and kind Co Mayo man with the sparkling eye took the youngsters under his wing and traced a stable path for them in the often treacherous seas of national newspapers.
Many of these journalists were on hand to pay their final respects outside St John The Evangelist Church in Ballinteer, Dublin, as his funeral took place today.
The main mourners were Dave’s beloved wife, Mary, with whom he had spent nearly 55 years, their son Brendan and their daughter Catherine. He was predeceased by another daughter, Claire, who died in infancy. Her sister, Sr. Marie Celine, a nun from Mercy in Athlone, was also present, while her sister Bernie watched live from her home in the UK.
Also in attendance were many former colleagues from the Irish Independent – where Dave had worked for almost 40 years and where he served as the group’s associate news editor until his retirement in 2007.
His friends and former “Indo” colleagues brought gifts to the altar symbolizing Dave’s life, including his golf clubs, bred by John Foley; a crucifix raised by Gene McKenna and a Mayo GAA scarf by Tom Rowley. His long career in journalism was represented by a copy of The Irish Independent, bred by Chris Glennon.
The celebrant, Father Liam Belton PP, said Dave had a deep faith given to him in the West of Ireland and brought with him to Dublin.
He was also a “good everyday man” who was able to enjoy life, he added.
A prayer for the family was said by his niece Cathy Halloran of RTÉ, with prayers also offered to staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and consultants at Beacon Hospital, “not just for David but for the past 18 difficult months. “.
His son, Brendan, said on behalf of the family that his father was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo, in 1942, the youngest of 10 children. Academically gifted, he had done well in school and accepted a job with Mayo News in his hometown. This was unusual because at that time many of his peers had to emigrate, Brendan said.
He worked with the Drogheda Independent before joining the Irish Independent in 1970 where he quickly rose through the ranks and had a special knack for helping trainee journalists. “He made them feel at home,” said Brendan.
Indeed, journalism has become the family business – with his brother Danno, daughter Catherine and niece Kathy Halloran also joining Dave in the industry.
Former colleagues in attendance included: former Group News editor Paul Dunne; former political editor Chris Glennon; former sports writers Pat Courtney and PJ Cunningham; former Evening Herald editor-in-chief Martin Brennan; former education editor John Walshe and former environmental editor Treacy Hogan. Jim Eady, former head of the NUJ, Irish Times reporter Miriam Lord; Irish freelance education editor Katherine Donnelly and Irish freelance automotive editor Eddie Cunningham were also in attendance. Nóirín Hegarty, former editor of the Sunday Tribune, was also present.
He loved to travel and was a staunch supporter of Mayo GAA and an excellent golfer – who had enjoyed a solid 10-year winning streak from a turkey in the Christmas competition hosted by the Dublin Journalists Golf Society.
Catherine Halloran thanked the doctors who had taken care of her father and his dear friends at the “Last of the Summer Wine” club.
And with a final round of applause for a man who had lived his life so well, his casket left the church to the sound of The West’s Awake.