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The late Robert Fisk enthralled Westport audience

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WESTPORT VISIT Fr Micheál Mac Gréil pictured with the late Robert Fisk at the Rolling Sun Book Festival in Westport back in November, 2015. Pic: Conor McKeown

Áine Ryan

FOR the organisers of the Rolling Sun Book Festival, the late Robert Fisk’s professionalism was made very clear when he gave a compelling talk on the night of November 14, 2015. His arrival in Westport had coincided with the Batalan terrorism attack in Paris and he spent the hours before his presentation in Hotel Westport doing what he did so uniquely, passionately and charismatically: reporting the facts.   
Paying tribute to him yesterday , after news of his untimely death in Dublin over the weekend, Ursula Skerritt said: “We clearly remember how the 400-strong audience was held spellbound as Robert spoke for almost two hours on various wars and conflicts around the world. Whilst all shocked by the events in Paris from the night before, we were treated to an up-close encounter with one of the most knowledgeable journalists of our time.”
Speaking on behalf of the Rolling Sun Book Festival committee, she added their voice to the ‘many tributes that have been paid to this journalist and author, whose knowledge and personal experience was brought to bear in all his writings and utterances’.
“He was generous of his time at our festival, as those who heard him and spoke with him that night can attest. He will be sadly missed by all those who believe ‘truth’ continues to be important in reporting from war-torn regions of this world. The Rolling Book Sun Festival committee members were privileged to have met him and we wish to convey our deepest sympathy to his family and friends at this time,” Dr Skerritt told The Mayo News.
President Michael D Higgins also expressed his and his wife Sabina’s condolences to Fisk’s family.
“I have had the privilege of knowing Robert Fisk since the 1990s, and of meeting him in some of the countries of which he wrote with such great understanding. I met him in Iraq, and last year I had my last meeting with him in Beirut, during my official visit to Lebanon.
“I knew that his taking of Irish citizenship meant a great deal to him. And his influence on young practitioners in journalism and political writing was attested by the huge audiences which attended the occasions on which he spoke in Ireland,” said the President.