We learned at his funeral Mass that Myles Staunton never missed Sunday Mass and never failed to fall on his knees before he went to bed every night. That simple nightly act of humility before his Creator says more about Myles Staunton than any of us can ever understand. Here is a man rooted in his faith, remembering his day, pledging his night and acknowledging his God.
A verse of Sacred Scripture as an epitaph is surely the greatest tribute for any person who has died. Myles Staunton is one of the few of whom it can be said that he lived Micah 6.8: “This is what the Lord asks of you; only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” Fr Francis Mitchell made reference to the verse in the funeral homily, how words written in southern Judah more than 700 years before Christ can still ring true today. “The word of God is alive and active.”
Myles Staunton lived in that daily flow that is his God, his family and the wider community. He served all three with distinction. His family are best placed to speak about the man they knew as husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. Not long before he died on June 22, Myles and his wife Marianne spent the weekend with their daughter’s family in Bristol. The occasion was his granddaughter’s First Holy Communion. That Myles and Marianne would make the journey is enough of a faith statement in itself.
Myles was a selfless man of priorities and principles. He was a politician but not the crass type. He could never be compared with those who wasted this state and bled its citizens of respect and integrity. Myles Staunton was a politician for the people. He was always looking for benefits for his community. It can be best summed up in his selflessness in securing Allergan for Westport in 1977. Thousands of people have been positively affected by his decision since then. He was a central part of that team that brought the US based company here 34 years ago. Myles Staunton was a politician who looked out for his community. He was not interested in the self-promotion and self-preservation that has become the hallmark of so many politicians. He was the archetypal politician who looked to the next generation rather than the next election. That was the level of selflessness that defined him.
He chased after projects that would benefit local communities – seaweed, peat and power. He was the quintessential man of natural resources! At all times he was prepared to put his money where his mouth was. He was never just willing to let other people take a risk. Myles took many risks because he believed in the projects he was interested in. He would do anything to pursue his projects because his bottom line always was that they would benefit local communities. “Sure it makes sense,” he would always argue to anyone who would listen.
And if you were one of those to whom he spoke then you had to listen! Myles could talk, and talk, and talk! When he asked, “Have you a minute?” he might have meant a minute but it usually took a little – being honest, quite a lot – longer than the proverbial minute! That was because his enthusiasm abounded. He was often intoxicated with enthusiasm! He could, and would, argue logically right down to the QED! For live radio interviews he would have to be pre-warned that there was only a three-minute slot available. Time meant nothing! Pre-recorded interviews could turn into mini-documentaries. He would talk and talk!
Being in his company was a guarantee of laughs and good humour. He was warm, intelligent and generous. He could laugh at anything, including himself! He knew he took risks that sometimes put him on the edge. He knew he could be pitched against statutory bodies but he did not mind. The risks were taken with the bigger picture in mind. Such greatness always carries a price.
Oftentimes, his ‘power’ projects needed Government and statutory support. Frustration ensued when the wheels of state spun slowly. He could get exasperated, but only because any delay meant that people were losing out on an opportunity to work in their own place rather than emigrate.
Many tributes have been paid to Myles Staunton, locally, nationally and internationally, deservedly so. Further afield, St Peter has already been quizzed about heavenly ‘power’ by Myles! We are the lesser with his passing. He will be missed by his family, friends and broader community.
It is time for Myles Staunton to rise off his knees. “At last all powerful Master, You give leave to Your servant to go in peace…” May his memory be a blessing.
Elsewhere in mayonews.ie
Myles Staunton – An indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit
Death of Senator, servant and innovative entrepreneur