Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fifth anniversary of the death of Tom McInerney OP

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Dominican priest, Tom McInerney,

Below is the obit on Fr McInerney that appeared in 'The Irish Times' on Februray 4, 2012.


Michael Commane
More comments have been posted on the original blog reporting his death. To read them simply scroll down and click on to 'comments'.

Fr Pat ‘Tom’ McInerney OP, who has died aged 81, belonged to that group of men known as “worker priests” - priests who lived and worked in the secular world while carrying out their missions. The concept was developed by the French Catholic Church in the 1940s and spread elsewhere, although it never became as widespread as in France. 

Pat McInerney was born in Roscrea. His father, Michael, had joined the Garda Síochána in 1922. His mother, Sheila Drennan, was from Roscrea. He was educated at CBS Abbey School in Tipperary town. 

In 1947 he declined a university scholarship and worked for a few years in the civil service in Dublin.

He joined the Dominican Order in 1951. The custom then was that when someone joined religious life they were given a new name, and Pat became “Thomas” - however, he continued to be known personally as Pat. 

While working in the Civil Service he wrote a letter home to his parents telling them that he had met a Dominican in St Saviour’s Dublin and was thinking of joining the Order, “I came to realise that I should become a member of the Dominican Order. It seems to offer everything I am looking for, and much besides.”

He in turn in his wisdom and gentle spirit gave to the Dominicans a unique understanding of priesthood that is remarkably needed today.

He studied theology at Le Saulchoir in Paris, where he was ordained a priest in 1957. He taught theology at the Benedictine Abbey in Glenstal and in the Dominican House of Studies at St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght. In 1962 he went to Nagpur in India where the Irish Dominicans had been asked to staff a seminary. Due to ill-health he returned to Ireland the following year and moved to Tallaght, which was to be his home for the rest of his life.

In 1970 he joined the staff of what was then Radio Éireann, based in the old studios in the GPO in O’Connell Street, Dublin. He started his career there as a radio producer in Features and Current Affairs under Donncha Ó Dualaing who was then head of this department. Later he moved to the Donnybrook studios where he joined his fellow Dominican, the late Romuald Dodd, who was religious affairs adviser at the station. 

Pat McInerney worked on a wide range of programmes across the RTÉ radio schedule, with a particular interest in factual and current affairs programmes. He made a major contribution to reshaping Irish radio as the originator of the Liam Nolan Hour in 1970 when he was one of its founding producers; the other was Michael O’Donnell. Before this programme started, there was very little speech on RTÉ Radio in the mornings. Round-the-clock radio (so-called at the time) had begun in 1968 with an initial morning schedule that consisted mostly of music. The Liam Nolan Hour was the first attempt at daytime current affairs outside the newsroom and it morphed into Here and Now, then Day by Day, and now the Today with Pat Kenny Show. 

In its day, the Liam Nolan Hour sounded fresh, new and quite unlike anything else on Irish radio. 

In the early 1970s he was seconded to the office of the deputy director general, John Irvine, where he worked as a special assistant. This work included conducting relations with he Broadcasting Review Committee; cable development and radio development studies; aspects of legislation; aspects of responses to the Complaints Advisory Committee; corporate planning and special assignments and papers for the RTE Authority, director general Tom Hardiman and the deputy director general. These were perhaps his happiest times in RTÉ; the role played to his clarity of thought and analytical skills. He enjoyed being at the centre of things. 

He returned to the radio division in 1976 where he became the first editor of the “Brief Series”: Adminbrief, Mediabrief, Eurobrief and Northbrief, which in time developed into the strands Looking North, Looking South and Looking West.

His work on the Papal visit in 1979 was one of the high points of his career in RTÉ. He was a clear-minded editor of a complex outside broadcast operaton.
He remained at RTÉ until his retirement on August 27th 1995, and continued to work for the station on a consultative basis for some time afterwards. 

He had none of the vestiges of clericalism, and he never expected any sort of preferential treatment back in the days when such behaviour was often par for the course.
He is survived by his sisters Eileen and Tess, brothers Michael and Noel, nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

Fr Pat ‘Tom’ McInerney: born August 26th, 1930; died January 19th

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