On Thursday April 17th, Toronto's St. James Cathedral was a sea of green scarves and ties as mourners lined the streets at the state funeral for Canada's former Finance Minister James Flaherty.
Fondly known as the 'little leprechaun' with the big heart, Irish charm and his signature green ties, Flaherty chose this past St. Patrick's day to retirejust a few weeks before his fatal heart attack on April 10th.
The Toronto's CN Tower and City Hall as well as Niagara Falls were illuminated in green light as another testament to Jim's 'Irishness'. IMAGE: Toronto.Ctvnews.ca
Flaherty often said his feistiness probably came from his Galway pirate roots quoting the inscription on the Galway gates:
"Dear God, protect us from the wrath of the O'Flahertys"!
He thought his genes had the training to be a finance minister. He was born in Lachine, Quebec, a very strong Irish community, his parents were born in New Brunswick. I have yet to find the name and origins of his grandparents. Last year Flaherty was in Galway to mark the launch of the Centre of Study of Economic Policy at the National University of Ireland
Only twice before in Canadian History has a state funeral been ordered for an 'Eminent Canadian' one of them was a very prominent Father of Confederation Thomas D’Arcy McGee whose name kept coming up in news reports covering Flaherty's death. Born in Carlingford Co Louth Ireland, his grandfather was a book seller in Dublin before his family moved to Wexford where his education was filled with stories of Irish Rebellion . This highly active and controversial politician was assassinated April 7, 1868 by Fenian Patrick J Whelan who was the last person publicly hanged in Canada. There is still some who believe Whelan was a scapegoat.
Regardless of James Flaherty's accomplishments and failures as Canada's Finance Minister, a job I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to take on, it was his 'Irishness' that was mentioned over and over again by his friends and enemies alike. It was this 'trait' that not only endeared him to so many but which garnered respect for his decency as a man. IMAGE: Thomas D'Arcy McGee State Funeral.
Personally I have no faith whatsoever in any politician as I truly believe they are all puppets being controlled by the man behind the curtain and everything is all about the show. Having spent just 2 weeks last summer in Ireland I can now personally attest to the warmth of Irish charm and hospitality that just makes one smile. I am very happy that it has become the star of this show because we all could stand a little more 'Irishness' in our behavior and bravo to Mr Flaherty for wearing it proudly like a Battle Flag.
The Irish Times wrote: "Ireland has lost a dear friend" and I bet his dog Guinness is missing him very much too.