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Statement on the death of Shay Healy

Date: Sat 10th Apr, 2021 | 12:02

“Passing of Shay Healy will be received with great sadness by all in the music-making community”


"The news of the death of Shay Healy, songwriter, broadcaster, journalist and producer, will have been heard with sadness by so many across the community of music and music-making in Ireland.

In the 1980’s Shay Healy became a household name when What’s Another Year won the Eurovision Song Contest, following which the Contest came to Ireland with considerable success.

Shay’s talents extended across so many areas and continued, even when challenged by illness, into the modern decades. His approach to everything he did was original and conveyed with enthusiasm. The range of his song-writing was such that it included not just songs that could compete with real prospect at Eurovision, but also songs that responded to contemporary events and that could take their place in the folk community.

The programme Nighthawks in which he worked for RTÉ was quite brilliant in its composition and execution and was significant for being one of those programmes which were able to move around the country, including in its achievement the history-making programme he produced in Roscommon.

Shay’s work was recognised by the Irish Film and Television Academy for his contribution to the Irish entertainment industry. This was so appropriate, as practically in every area, from the showband era to the production of musicals including The Wiremen, Shay’s work was continually breaking new ground.

I treasure the correspondence I received from him over the years at different points of both of our lives. To have known him as a friend was a great privilege. He was loyal in his friendship and generous in its expression.

While he will be missed by so many who have been inspired and entertained by his work, his loss will be felt most acutely by his sons Oisín and Fionain and other members of their family to all of whom Sabina and I send our deepest sympathy.

Síocháin shíoraí dó. Leis na haingil go luí sé."