A Man of Faith

Cardinal Seán Brady is pictured here with Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband, Dr. Martin McAleese.

By Cardinal Seán Brady, Contributor
Heritage Series 2008

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, pays tribute to a man of faith who made a difference in the lives of others


Few Irish-American Catholics have done more good works in one lifetime than Bill Flynn and have received more gestures of respect and recognition. It has been a privilege and pleasure to know him and to pay him a well-deserved tribute at this time, along with others who have been touched by his life and values: by his sheer goodness and greatness. First and foremost, he has always been a devoted husband to his wife Peg. Together they are the proud parents of four, and grandparents of eleven. Bill has always brought his family honor and pride.

In his work life he has made an outstanding contribution to the insurance industry, and through his work Bill has been a catalyst for good not only in New York, but throughout the United States and beyond. Over the years, with energy and enthusiasm, Bill has helped promote countless international, national, local and community-based organizations.

One part of the world that has particularly benefited from Bill’s influence and resources has been Northern Ireland. That is something to which I can attest personally. Bill has travelled to Ireland hundreds of times over the past thirty years. Among his numerous leadership roles, he has been the longtime Chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. In truth, his principal international effort has been to inculcate democratic principles and values into the process of building peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Bill Flynn’s energies and efforts to promote peace and justice in Northern Ireland have been tireless. He has welcomed significant political figures on both sides of the conflict in the North, to tell their side of the story to an American audience — probably the first person in the United States to provide such a forum.

Nor did Bill forget the importance of assistance to the ordinary people in Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant, at community level. The Flax Trust and its community-based initiatives in Northern Ireland has long been the beneficiary of Bill’s energetic leadership and financial support.

Bill is also a man of deep personal faith, deeply rooted in his Irish ancestry. The Church in Ireland owes him much for all he has done, and continues to do, to make our world the better place. Ad multos annos! Long may he continue to grace us with his charismatic presence. ♦

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