herald

Sunday 26 January 2020

'She made colours brighter and the world better', says grieving husband

Ryan Tubridy comforts Marian’s partner John Clarke
Ryan Tubridy comforts Marian’s partner John Clarke

Theirs was a love affair that lasted 40 years and showed no signs of waning before her death last Thursday.

Visibly broken, Marian Finucane's husband John Clarke paid tribute yesterday to "my Marian", a woman he had adored for four decades.

Their future together appeared bright as they looked forwarded to new adventures, including her imminent retirement and first grandchild.

Cruelly, life had other plans, and John described how powerless he felt without her.

"She was a woman who always made the colours brighter, the world a bit better to live in," he said.

"Last December, she decided to retire and we were so excited. We would have more time, more space, more books to read, more places to see.

"Sadly, that is not going to happen. Someone said, I don't know who, that we were two 15-year-old adolescents who were addicted to each other and forgot to grow up. I don't deny that.

"I find myself so powerless. I truly don't know what to do.

Tears

"Some weeks ago, we were in a township in Africa and a very old black woman said to us, 'The only thing I can give you are my tears'. And that's the only thing I can do today. Thank you."

He also thanked family and friends, as well as the media and all who contributed to his wife's funeral.

Among the many mourners was her colleague, radio and TV presenter Ryan Tubridy, who told the Herald it was a "very, very sad day for us in RTE".

Tubridy spoke about how he had "lost three friends" - referring to Finucane, Larry Gogan, who died yesterday, and former Late Late show host Gay Byrne, who died last November.

"We have lost three iconic broadcasters who are not just people who are in a studio talking into microphones, they're friends and people's families, and friends of the listeners," he said.

"There's a strange connection with listeners. There's a great intimacy of having somebody in your kitchen - albeit in a disembodied way - or in your car.

"You shout at the radio and give out.

"But they're your company and my company, and when that company is taken from you, no matter how old someone is or how brutally or swiftly, it's just sad for everyone.

"While we accept it as a death of a colleague - whether it's Gay or Marian or Larry - the country has lost three friends."

The Late Late Show presenter, who considered Byrne a mentor, said it had been a "tricky and tough two months".

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