connect 2018 • 51 Dr. Maurice Hayes—An Appreciation by Kieran McLoughlin Worldwide President & CEO, The Ireland Funds Statesman, public servant, European of the year, sportsman, journalist, author, wit, peacemaker. Anyone would be justifiably proud to have ex- celled in any of those fields. Maurice Hayes, how- ever, excelled in them all. Through his 90 years he remained utterly true to his belief in equality, mutual respect and the importance of a lively cultural life. He applied these values consistently and courageously where they were most needed, in Northern Ireland as the Troubles raged. In the chaos and division of those days he stood for toleration, moderation and reconciliation. His strength of conviction and character were applied to many pivotal posi- tions, most notably Chairman of the Community Relations Council and as a member of the Patten Commission on Policing Reform. As we mark the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Maurice’s contribution to that great settlement cannot be overstated. However, despite his elevated position and his access and influence, Maurice remained hum- ble and connected. His priority was those on the margins, those struggling against adversity and those trying to lead decent lives without the advantages, connections or breaks that many of us take for granted. He spoke so often of “lighting a candle of dignity for every human being.” These are the values he brought to The Ireland Funds as our Chairman in Ireland for 16 years. Despite mixing with Presidents, Princes and Prime Ministers he always reminded us that our support should be directed first to those who found it hard to secure support elsewhere. He guided us flawlessly in our grant making in North- ern Ireland during those torrid times ensuring that our support was dispersed even-handedly to both communities. Finally, against the backdrop of so many social needs he understood that the quality of a society is measured by its culture. Led by Maurice we had the privilege of supporting some of Ireland’s greatest performers, musicians, writers and poets often at an early stage in their careers, not least his dear friend Seamus Heaney. Maurice’s world view was not only anchored in his wisdom but also his wit. He was the very best of company. His deep political observa- tions were leavened with gloriously politically incorrect asides and quips. On one occasion, he forgot he was to launch a book which of course, he had not read. He dashed to the event and rescued the situation brilliantly by holding the book aloft and declaring solemnly and confidently, “this book deserves to be read!” However, his humor was serious, rooted in his belief that we are all equal and deserve to laugh and be laughed at, equally. Maurice attended our Worldwide Confer- ence in June. We put him on the spot and asked him to address our guests. Off the cuff, he gave a perfect, touching, moving, funny, inspiring account of what The Ireland Funds are for and what we have yet to do. Listening to Maurice that day we realized just how lucky we were to have him at the center of our work. What we did not realize was that he was saying goodbye. Maurice’s greatest achievement was his family founded on his loving union with Joan. He spoke with such pride of his children and their families. For a man who frequented offices of state and parliaments, he was never happier than picking blackberries with his grandchildren on a summer’s evening. All strands of Maurice’s remarkable life were represented at his funeral in his beloved hometown of Downpatrick. After requiem mass in the Catholic church, Maurice’s remains were carried through the town to the graveyard in the Protestant cathedral, his final resting place. Thus, Maurice’s very last act was one of reconciliation. Rest well dear mentor, dear guide and dear friend. You truly deserve the epitaph-Blessed are the Peacemakers. Photo: Aengus McMahon