Paddy Harte’s name may not be listed among the great of modern Ireland but he was undoubtedly one of the low-key, profoundly influential game changers who, almost under the radar, changed his country, and its relationship with Northern Ireland very much for the better.
Others made the party by singing at it but without Harte and a few others like him, there would not have been a party.
Born in Lifford, Co Donegal the former TD and Fine Gael minister of state died aged 85 yesterday.
Harte, when this island was battered and bruised, found common cause with his peers in Northern Ireland. He has left a valuable legacy through his cross-community and cross-Border work.
That work was epitomised by his groundbreaking efforts to have the role all Irishmen played in the First World War finally recognised. This campaign built many important and enduring bridges and culminated in a memorial to Ireland’s First World War dead — the Island of Ireland Peace Park and Round Tower on Messines Ridge in Belgium.
Blessed indeed are the peacemakers.