by Nigel Heneghan
In professional terms it has been an unusual start to the year and in differing ways, a sad one. Early on 30th December, I received a call from the Guinness family regarding the death, in the early hours of that morning, of their mother Countess Miranda Iveagh. Miranda’s passing had been expected for some time, but for those of us who have experienced it, there is no preparation for the most final of outcomes.
Wisely, the family anticipated interest from the media because of the historic and contemporary Guinness links with Ireland, and particularly because of Miranda’s own contribution through social, trade and charitable activities. They decided to take a measured pro-active approach with relevant media, to ensure factual reporting around Miranda’s life.
I met Miranda a number of times and was always struck by her deep integrity, sense of humour and generosity of spirit. She was also a determined woman who knew her mind and what she wanted.
Be it a phone conversation or a meeting, you were always left with the feeling of having a pleasant experience. Nice memories to have.
Later on 30th December, I received a phonecall from Ivan Yates, former TD, broadcaster, and owner of Celtic ‘Bookmakers’. My first instinct was that the call related to the Newstalk Breakfast Show, but I was soon set straight on Ivan’s requirement.
I met Ivan, whom I have known for a number of years, and his wife Deidre a couple of days later.
The press statement announcing the receivership of Celtic Bookmakers was issued on Tuesday 4th January. It could almost be said, that the rest is history.
Over the years in his career I have met many people in a range of circumstances, but rarely have I encountered the likes of Ivan and Deidre Yates in the circumstances they faced on the 4th of January. It is difficult to comprehend the emotions they were both undergoing, but you could throw in the shame, bereavement, fear, insecurity and no-doubt more.
The courageous approach adopted by the Yates was something to witness at close hand. It was inspirational.
They have for now failed, but I have come away from the task with a deep sense of wanting them both to succeed in future, I believe they will.