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In memoriam: Remembering the famous Irish faces we lost in 2022

A look back at some of the greats and well-known faces we lost this year.

2022 WAS A year in which we lost many Irish people.

We said goodbye to famous campaigners, authors, and sporting stars, as well as those who brought us happiness via our TV screens and the airwaves for decades.

Join us as we take a look back at those we lost over the last 12 months. 

On 1 January, Aoife Beary - one of the survivors of the 2015 Berkeley balcony collapse – died aged 27.

From Blackrock in south Dublin, she survived the tragedy in the US but suffered life-changing injuries.

Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster, Eimear Walsh and Ashley Donohoe died when the balcony collapsed in California in the early hours of June 16, 2015.

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Veteran RTÉ broadcaster Jim Fahy died at the age of 75 on 14 January.

The journalist, known as “the voice of the West”, was RTÉ’s longest-serving regional correspondent when he retired in 2011 and covered international events across Haiti, Belarus, Africa and a 1996 interview with Mother Teresa.


Former Ireland and Leinster rugby player Kevin Flynn passed away aged 82 on 16 January. Flynn earned 22 caps for Ireland throughout his career and was inducted in the Leinster Hall of Fame in 2014.

On 2 February, former Fianna Fáil TD and Minister of State Noel Treacy died at the age of 70. He served the Galway East constituency between 1982, when he won a by-election, and 2007 and also served as chairman of the Galway County GAA board.

Munster and Ireland rugby legend Tom Kiernan died at the age of 83 on 3 February. Winning 54 caps for Ireland, he was the country’s most-capped player at the time he retired, as well as the then-record points scorer with 158.

He coached Munster to their legendary win against the All Blacks in 1978 and subsequently coached Ireland to the Triple Crown in 1982.

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DUP MLA Christopher Stalford passed away at the age of 39 on 19 February. He was first elected to the Stormont Assembly in 2016 and served as the principal deputy speaker since January 2020.

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Former Garda detective Ben O’Sullivan, who survived an IRA gun attack in Adare, Co Limerick in 1996, passed away at the age of 78 on 25 February.

He was seriously wounded after being shot 11 times in the attack, which claimed the life of his colleague, Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, as a gang armed with machine guns opened fire while the two escorted a post office van that was delivering cash and mail.

The two detectives were later awarded the Scott Gold Medal for their bravery.

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Former Manchester United manager Frank O’Farrell, the only Irishman to ever take charge at Old Trafford, died aged 94 on 6 March.

The Cork native began his stint at the club in 1972 as the club attempted to emerge from the shadow of Matt Busby, winning 30 of his 81 games as United boss before his reign ended after 18 months.

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Former judge and president of the District Court Peter Smithwick passed away on 8 March at the age of 85.

The senior judge led an inquiry that found that, on the balance of probablities, Gardaí and the IRA colluded during the murder of two RUC officers in south Armagh in 1989.

Singer-songwriter Pete St. John, died at the age of 90 on 12 March. He was best known for writing The Fields of Athenry and The Rare Ould Times, with his work recorded extensively by Irish traditional and folk musicians.

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Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski was killed on 14 March during the opening days of the war in Ukraine.

The 55 year-old died alongside his colleague, Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, when their vehicle was struck by incoming fire in Horenka, outside of Kyiv.

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Sligo footballer and former AFL player Red Óg Murphy died aged 21 on 1 April.

A DCU student, he put in several outstanding performances in the Sigerson Cup earlier this year and was named on the team of the year, and also represented his county in 2020 and 2021.

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Former Fianna Fáil TD Michael O’Kennedy passed away at the age of 86 on 15 April.

A former minister for Foreign Affairs, Finance, Public Service and Agriculture, he served as a TD for Tipperary North between 1969 and 1992 and was also a European Commissioner between 1981 and 1982.

Former League of Ireland goalkeeper Freddy Hall died at the age of 37 on 24 April. The Bermudan made over 40 appearances for Limerick between 2015 and 2018, helping his club to win the First Division title in 2016.

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Cork musician Cathal Coughlan, best known as the frontman for Microdisney and the founder of Fatima Mansions, died aged 61 on 18 May.

Though his bands were not massively commercially successful, they were critically acclaimed for their creativity and emotional impact. He also had a long solo career.

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Adventurer and travel writer Dervla Murphy died at the age of 90 on 22 May.

The acclaimed author of numerous books about her travels, including Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, and Eight Feet in the Andes, she was well-known for her journeys (usually by bike) across the world.

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Tayto Park founder Ray Coyle passed away aged 70 on 8 June.

The businessman from Tara, Co Meath, started his career as a potato farmer and founded Largo Foods in 1982, which grew to include leading crisp brands including Tayto, Hunky Dory, Perri and King.

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Former Northern Ireland footballer and manager Billy Bingham passed away at the age of 90 on 9 June.

He was capped 56 times as a player and twice guided Northern Ireland to the World Cup finals as a manager, first in 1982 when they famously beat hosts Spain, and again in 1986.

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On 13 June, former Republic of Ireland international Noel Campbell passed away at the age of 72.

A League of Ireland star who enjoyed stints with Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic, he represented his country 11 times and also spent eight seasons with German club Koln.

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Tyrone hurler Damian Casey passed away at the age of 29 on 17 June.

The Eoghan Ruadh forward was widely regarded as Tyrone’s greatest hurler of all time, and made 40 championship appearances for his county, scoring in every one of them.

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On 19 June, the father of murdered 14-year-old Ana Kriegel Patrick Kriegel passed away at his home in Kildare. Originally from France, he attended every day of his daughter’s murder trial in 2019 in which two boys were convicted of her killing.

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Irish traditional musician Dennis Cahill died on 20 June aged 68.

The Chicago-born guitarist was best known for his partnership with fiddler Martin Hayes, with whom he was a member of the group The Gloaming.

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Renowned gardener Dermot O’Neill died on 1 July at the age of 58.

One of the country’s best-known gardening personalities, he was a member of the council of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland and a founding committee member of the Irish Garden Plant Society. He also appeared regularly in the RTÉ Guide, and on the Today Programme on RTÉ Radio and The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.

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Former Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward died aged 67 on 14 July.

He served as a TD for Carlow-Kilkenny from 2007 to 2011 and from 2015 to 2020, winning election to the Dáil on three separate occasions. The Mullinavat native replaced his brother Liam who held a seat in the constituency for two decades before becoming an MEP.

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Wrightbus founder and former unionist councillor William Wright passed away 24 July aged 94. He founded the bus manufacturing firm with his father, Robert, in 1946 and was knighted in 2018 for his services to the economy and the bus industry.

Nobel Prize winner and former Ulster Unionist first minister David Trimble died at the age of 77 on 25 July.

He marked a number of firsts as Ulster Unionist leader, including becoming the party’s first leader in 30 years to meet with Taoiseach in Dublin and in 1997 he became the first unionist leader since partition to negotiate with Sinn Fein.

Along with John Hume of the SDLP, he was one of the leading figures in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and become the first First minister of Northern Ireland to be elected on 1 July, 1998.

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Former Arsenal, Tottenham and Northern Ireland manager Terry Neill passed away at the age of 80 on 28 July.

He became the youngest player to captain Arsenal in 1962 during an 11-year playing career, and went on to manage the club between 1976 and 1983, leading them to 1979 FA Cup glory amid a run to three successive finals. He arrived back at the club as manager after a two-year spell at arch rivals Tottenham, where he had replaced Bill Nicholson.

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Michael O’Brien, founder of Irish publishing house O’Brien Press, died on 31 July.

Best known for his role in the publishing industry, he founded the business along with his father Thomas in 1974. It has published authors including Des Lavelle, Brendan Behan, Siobhán Parkinson, Eoin Colfer, Paul Howard and Judi Curtin, as well as Marita Conlon-McKenna for her famous Under The Hawthorne Tree trilogy.

Former Football Association of Ireland president Des Casey passed away at the age of 90 on 23 August.  He worked in the position from 1984 until 1986, playing a key role in the appointment of Jack Charlton as Ireland manager.

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Feargus Flood, a former High Court judge, died at the age of 94 on 10 September.

Originally from Ballybofey in Co Donegal, he was best known for his chairing of the Planning and Payments Tribunal, which was called the Flood Tribunal. The tribunal was founded set up in 1997 to investigate planning issues in the Dublin area.


Dublin football legend Brian Mullins passed away at the age of 68 on 30 September.

Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders in Gaelic football, he starred on Dublin teams that won All-Ireland senior finals in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1983. He also won nine Leinster senior medals, was part of two National League triumphs and won All-Star awards in 1976 and 1977.

As a manager, he also took charge of Derry between 1996 and 1998, as they tasted glory in the league and Ulster senior football championship.

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Former RTÉ broadcaster Val Joyce died at the age of 91 on 8 October

Originally from Dublin, he worked as an accountant with the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes until the 1950s, when he began his career on Radio Éireann. He presented an array of programmes on RTÉ during his career, including Airs and Races, Ireland’s Choice with Val Joyce and Late Date.

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Noel Duggan, a founding member of Clannad, passed away at the age of 73 on 15 October.

He helped to form the group in the early 1970s through regular performances in the family pub, Leo’s Tavern, and the band went on to win numerous awards, including an Ivor Novello, BAFTA, and a Grammy and scored eight UK top 10 albums.

CervicalCheck campaigner Lynsey Bennett died on 28 October aged 34.

Originally from Co Longford, she sued the HSE and two laboratories over her cervical smear slides taken under the national screening programme, after being diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in 2017 following a negative smear test the previous year.

She later used her profile to encourage women to go for their smear tests but said she didn’t have the choice of waiting around for the upcoming CervicalCheck Tribunal to receive an apology or compensation.

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Former Fianna Fáil TD Donal Moynihan died on 29 October aged 81. He represented Cork North-West in the Dáil between 1982 and 1989 and 1992 and 2007, and was also a councillor on Cork County Council for a number of years.


Boomtown Rats guitarist Garry Roberts died aged 72 on 8 November.

He was a founding member of the band, which formed in Dublin in 1975 fronted by lead singer Bob Geldof, and in a statement following his death, the group described him as “the guy who summed up the sense of who The Rats are”.

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Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan died at the age of 48 on 14 November.

She was instrumental in exposing the CervicalCheck controversy, becaming the first woman to speak publicly about the issue in 2018 after being awarded a €2.5 million settlement in a High Court case involving the HSE and Clinical Pathology Laboratories in Austin, Texas.

Originally from Mooncoin in Co Kilkenny but based in Co Limerick, she worked in the education department of the University of Limerick and headed the Literacy Development Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology before coming to prominence as a campaigner in recent years.

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Campaigner Derek Leinster died aged 81 on 21 November.

He was born in Bethany Home in Dublin in 1941 and was the chairman of the Bethany Homes Survivors’ Group, through which he campaigned for over 20 years for the inclusion of Bethany Home and other Protestant institutions in State inquiries and redress schemes.

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Solicitor Richard Grogan died on 23 November. The employment law specialist became well-known among Irish social media users in recent years as he made regular TikTok videos giving advice to people about the legalities of their work arrangements.

The Republic of Ireland soccer team’s first-ever manager Mick Meagan passed away at the age of 88 on 27 November.

He managed the national side from 1969 to 1971 when the selection committee process for the Irish team was ended, and was also capped 17 times as a player for Ireland. During his playing career, the Dubliner also won an English league title with Everton and enjoyed stints with Drogheda, Bray Wanderers and Shamrock Rovers.

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On 15 December, Private Seán Rooney was killed in Lebanon at the age of 23.

Originally from Dundalk, he joined the Defence Forces in March 2019 and served overseas with the 119 Infantry Battalion UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

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