The following eulogy for CCoF founder member Gerard Brophy was delivered today, June 9th 2014, at Gerard's funeral service by Jamie McKenzie Hamilton, CCoF Secretary. Gerard passed away on Thursday 29th May at Strathcarron Hospice and will be sadly missed by us all.
I only knew Gerard for a short time. I met him and Carol a year ago last February at a community meeting about the Dart Energy application to extract coalbed methane locally, the first to commercialise the UK’s Dash-for-Gas.
The regular attendees of those meetings became CCoF, Concerned Communities of Falkirk. At first, just a group of strangers united by common purpose, but after a year of working together, good friends.
Gerard was instrumental in the campaign in so many ways. But perhaps, most significantly, he authored the Legal Opinion which went on to underpin CCoF’s closing argument at the recent public inquiry to judge the Dart application.
Drawing on European Law, Gerard’s Opinion provided a legal basis for the right for local residents to participate in assessing developments with potential long-term risks for their community and natural environment.
If you believe, as I, that meaningful public involvement would lead to more responsible assessments than if left to developers alone then you’ll appreciate the Opinion’s far-reaching implications for communities countrywide and for UK sustainability in general.
If Gerard’s listening, however, I’ve no doubt he’ll be waving away such achievements. Modesty is just one of the qualities for which I grew to love and respect him.
And there were many: his even-temperedness; his fairness; kindness, empathy; his ability to see situations from all sides; his rare combination of intelligence and succinctness - I‘ll always aspire to the clarity and brevity of his emails and Tweets; and his brilliant sense-of-humour.
The root of many of these qualities, I believe, was a genuine selflessness, a dispassion born from a deep sense of what’s good and right, of social and environmental justice unsullied by personal interest. It’s why Gerard was everyone’s first choice for CCoF’s Chairperson, and also why he declined.
Despite his superficial deterioration over the final months, this Gerard remained undiminished for me. I prepared myself for depressing visits, but always left feeling cheerful and invigorated.
To the end, he was great company: uncomplaining, warm, attentive, long on the hugs, full of love and light. I don’t think the ripples created by his kind of goodness ever stop reverberating through the world.
Goodbye Gerard and thank-you, my friend.