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Kenny: Stynes was 'a force for good throughout his life'

Jim Stynes’ remarkable life bonded the people of Ireland and Australia even closer together, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this evening.

AN TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has added to the warm tributes paid to the former Dublin minor footballer and Aussie Rules legend Jim Stynes, 45, who died in Melbourne on Tuesday following a long battle against cancer.

In a statement this evening, Kenny described the Ballyboden native as a “true Irish hero” and said that on and off the field, Stynes “has been a force for good throughout his life.”

Thousands, including GAA President Christy Cooney, are expected to pay their final respects at a state funeral in Melbourne next Tuesday.

The Herald Sun reports that mass will be celebrated in St Paul’s Cathedral, and broadcast on large screens in nearby Federation Square to cater for the expected crowds.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s statement in full

On behalf of the people of Ireland, I want to express my deep sadness at the passing of Jim Stynes.

Our thoughts and prayers are very much with his wife, Samantha, his children, Tiernan and Matisse, and all his family at this time.

Jim was a true Irish hero. An inspiring individual who had a profoundly positive impact on those with whom he came in contact. On and off the field of sport, he has been a force for good throughout his life.

His sporting achievements, from minor All-Ireland medal winner with his native Dublin, to later become one of the all-time greats of the AFL mark him out as one of a kind. Through his skill and determination he provided the inspiration and the conditions for many of his compatriots to follow in his footsteps, just as he inspired and supported young people through the Reach Foundation, helping them to realise their potential and their dreams. Through his selfless work on behalf of others he continued to be a hero to those young people.

We in Ireland are proud of his success in Australia, but more importantly, of the powerful impact he had on so many people in his adopted land. In a very real way, he has bonded our two peoples even closer together.

Jim faced his final adversary, the illness which would cut short his life, with the battling spirit, the courage and the dignity for which he had become known.

We in Ireland feel a great loss at the passing of Jim. It is a fitting tribute that he should be honoured with a State Funeral, a mark of the high esteem in which he is held.

Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dhilís.

Jim Stynes inspired thousands to reach for the sky… including me

WATCH: Every Heart Beats True – The Jim Stynes Story

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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