Wonderful tribute to John McNamee
The late John McNamee – a big loss to Laois
From Senator John Whelan
I have known John a long time and he has been a great friend for years. Portlaoise too has lost a great friend.
John was an avid and passionate bookseller and an astute and hardworking businessman. First in and last out each day to his landmark bookshop; his contribution to his community and adopted county went much, much further than that.
John was an enthusiastic supporter of any events which would help promote Portlaoise and enhance the lives of its people.
When I was involved in arts projects, literary festivals, or youth events back as far as the mid 1980s, John was always first to offer his support and put his hand in his pocket for generous sponsorship.
But he was also generous with his time, and was one of the driving forces behind the revival some years ago of the Laois Chamber of Commerce and the Portlaoise Traders Association.
He was always singing the praises and promoting Laois. He was acknowledged by his peers as a committed and formidable champion of the independent bookshop sector when elected President of the European Booksellers Association. Even then, John would waste no opportunity or chance to plug a local book or publication by Pat Critchley, Jack Carter, John Dunne, Pat Boran, John Feehan, John Drennan, Seamus Dunne and many, many more.
His sudden death has come as a terrible shock to all who knew him. His loyal customers will miss him (and his ”I have just the book for you” recommendations). He will be a big loss to Laois and his community.