herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

President Higgins leads tributes to gentleman of the airwaves

TRIBUTES

Derek and his wife Una
Derek and his wife Una
Derek after his weight loss

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Derek Davis who he said exuded a natural charisma.

He said Mr Davis had a rich career in broadcasting spanning many areas of life from music and sport to current affairs and documentaries.

"He exuded a natural charisma, warmth and inquisitiveness, had a great sense of humour and in every sense was a gentleman," he said.

"He had a great familiarity with Irish life in all of its different aspects, including its rivers and lakes and its community of fishermen.

"His loss will be felt not only by the broadcasting and media community across the island of Ireland but also by so many sections of the public at large."

Meanwhile, a Tipperary village that hosted President Ronald Reagan also remembered Mr Davis,who became the voice of the high-profile 1984 visit.

Mr Davis (67) revealed three years ago in a Tipp FM documentary that President Reagan narrowly avoided an attempted attack on him during his Irish visit when a man holding a broken glass was prevented from meeting the president.

The Down-born journalist served as MC for the Ballyporeen leg of President Reagan's trip - and was one of those present when the US president famously sampled a pint of Smithwicks on June 3 1984.

The Farrell family, who operated the pub which was later renamed after Ronald Reagan, paid tribute to Mr Davis as "a true professional and an absolute gentleman".

SADNESS

Colleagues from across RTE also told of the sadness at the passing of Mr Davis.

He was remembered on RTE's Liveline radio show yesterday afternoon.

Host Joe Duffy also paid tribute on twitter, saying: "Derek Davis RIP. To me, he had the warmth, brightness and openness of summer.

"Condolences to his family. So sad to hear of his untimely passing."

Broadcaster Aonghus McAnally also paid a warm tribute.

"I am so sad to hear of the death of Derek Davis. One of the finest wordsmiths I ever worked with. My sympathies go out to his wonderful family," he said.

Classic Hits 4FM DJ Gareth O'Callaghan said that he leaves a legacy of great memories.

"In all the time I knew him, he was one of the most optimistic people that you could be in the company of," he said.

"He always had a good word for everyone he interviewed and was always respectful in the way he treated other people."

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