Norman: A man of courage and dignity

22 Nov

obituary Norman Daniels

Norman: A man of courage and dignity
Kilkenny Reporter, 21st November 2018

The small close-knit community of Rathmoyle, County Kilkenny was shocked and saddened at the sudden death of Norman Daniels.

Norman was brother of Ruth and Hubert, and son of the late Abe and Kathleen Daniels.

He was the quintessential gentleman farmer: Dedicated to honest toil he was the most obliging neighbour you could ask for, and closely attentive to the welfare of his animals. With his brother Hubert he ran the farm efficiently as a model business enterprise, but he never lost touch with the ethics-based rural way of life bequeathed to him by his parents and grandparents.

He empathized with the cause of wildlife protection. Representatives of the Irish Council and Against Blood Sports and like-minded groups attended his funeral.

In recent years Norman became something of cause célèbre for other farmers and landowners owing to his principled stance against trespass.

He acted decisively to tackle renegade foxhunting and other forms of aggravated trespass.

He demonstrated how such illicit behavior could be recorded and used in evidence in any resulting legal actions to enshrine the rights of the landowners affected.

His handling of a series of incursions on his own property was widely reported via social media and praised by landowners nationwide.

Long suffering victims of trespass who had themselves sustained damage to fencing, livestock, and crops following his example and opting to videotape unlawful incursions rather than physically approaching or confronting the culprits.

Though of peaceful disposition, Norman was never a man to accept wrongdoing…whether to himself, family members, or other farmers.

A hero of his was the acclaimed Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe. Norman held that one should always battle for truth, whatever the consequences.

He believed that in the end doing the right thing brought the joy and relief of a clear conscience and ultimate vindication.

Aptly, a quote from Matthew (5:11) was included in his funeral service at the magnificent St Canice’s Cathedral: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you.”

In good times and bad, Norman was a born optimist, never giving up on an enterprise or dodging a daunting challenge.

He followed through to the end in the knowledge- or hope- that success could be achieved.

The theme of optimism was in the air when the service ended and people streamed out of the cathedral.

Drizzly rain had abated, clouds were beginning to clear, and a most beautiful rainbow shimmered in the sky.

It seemed to bisect the round tower, and to encircle the ancient place of worship, exuding brilliant reds, yellows, and indigo.

For some it was a sign of hope and renewal, a reminder that a decent human being had passed to his just reward for a life well-lived.

Norman will be missed: by his family, his friends, and the countless people who drew solace from his brave stance against bullying.

May his gentle soul rest in peace.

John Fitzgerald

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