Brendan was a stalwart supporter and activist for Educate Together. On behalf the Directors, National Office staff and all the member school communities of the movement, It is important that these few words are spoken in the warmth of our memories of him and in support and sympathy with Kirsten, Else, Jens and Hanne and all the family.
Although most of Brendan’s work for Educate Together was concentrated on his involvement and support of his local schools – a pioneering contribution many here will know very well – Brendan was always interested and engaged in the wider picture of education and rights in modern Irish society.
He was a long-term activist for Educate Together, served on the National Executive for a period and as recently as May this year, spoke eloquently at our Annual General Meeting. His contributions were always constructive, well-thought out and delivered with a warmth of tone and friendliness that persuaded and endeared. He was passionate about the intellectual rights of children in the Irish system. He could articulate – better than most – the feelings of those parents who felt that their identity was hurt or diminished by a State funded system that provided them with no alternative but a faith-based school. He could explain – again better than most – how the Educate Together model of school worked and addressed this need in contemporary Irish society.
To Educate Together, he brought the outlook of an open-minded, bright, professional civil servant who had a European and global outlook and who was acutely aware of the standards a modern Irish State was failing, must meet and always aspire to exceed.
To me, as CEO of the movement, he was always available to offer advice and encouragement, a phone call, email or meeting over coffee. His advice, often based on his intimate experience of the inner workings of the civil service, was frequently invaluable. In later life his advice was sometimes mulched or fertilised with a growing encyclopaedia of horticultural wisdom! He was a kind, gentle man with passion and purpose – a person of true culture and quality. In the words of the famous poem, he was an ambassador of the Republic of Conscience who never retired or sought to step down.
His kindliness and generosity of spirit is an example to all of us and I am sure that we all will miss and remember him with the warmth and engagement with which he lived his life.
CEO Educate Together