Taking a taxi to heaven

September 29, 2009 in General, News

hackett_01The Irish Times on 23 September noticed Brenda Niall’s “Riddle of Father Hackett”, a wonderful book. William Hackett, the son of a  Kilkenny doctor, moved into the Jesuits after schooling in Clongowes. Through a network of friendships, Thomas McDonagh and Erskine Childers among them, he became a passionately anti-Treaty Republican at a time when such sympathies were rare in Irish Jesuits. In 1922, at the height of the Civil War, he was assigned to Australia and never saw Ireland again, but his friendships and influence left their mark in both Ireland and Australia. After being knocked down and fatally injured by a taxi while crossing a Melbourne street at night, he joked on his death-bed: “I never thought I’d have a taxi to take me to heaven.”