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Statement by President Higgins on the death of Chuck Feeney

Date: Tue 10th Oct, 2023 | 13:18

“May I, as President of Ireland, join with all those who have paid tribute to the passing of a great friend of Ireland and its people, the late Chuck Feeney.

So much of what has been achieved in Irish third level education owes so much to his generous gifts to so many institutions. Through his selfless commitment to so many important causes, Chuck Feeney’s work was founded on the core principles of inclusivity, participation and fairness. He has left a deep and lasting effect on the lives of so many people in our country, providing opportunities for participation and improving conditions within our society.

Through the Atlantic Philanthropies Foundation, his donations to education in Ireland in particular helped empower children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, thus playing an innovative role in the shaping of the more equal and just Ireland of today.

It is important too that we recognise the contribution made by Chuck Feeney in the long journey towards peace and reconciliation on our island. The Irish people will remain deeply appreciative of his quiet and generous work in moving the process forward, while also providing funding for important reconciliation and regeneration projects.

I had the honour of presenting Chuck Feeney, who remained proud of his Fermanagh roots, with the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 2012, in recognition of his extraordinary commitment to the education sector and to the wider spheres of research and civil society throughout the island of Ireland.

I also fondly recall meeting with him during my official visit to the West Coast of the United States in October 2015, where we joined in paying tribute at the Martin Luther King Civic Centre to those Irish students who tragically lost their lives in the Berkeley tragedy.

May I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Helga, to his children and extended family, and to all his many friends and colleagues.”