The recent passing of Dr Jack Kyle (pictured) was marked by widespread tributes to his genius on the rugby field, arguably the greatest player ever.
I was a schoolboy spectator at Lansdowne Road in 1947 when Ireland, inspired by the masterly tactician and fly-half, walloped England 22 nil, and Kyle became the nation’s hero.
More than that, Jack was a gentleman, a surgeon and a caring humanitarian.
He spent much of his life doctoring to the impoverished in Africa, at a time when Aids was rampant in the patient population.
He was recognised with an OBE, not a knighthood.
The higher award is reserved for people like Jimmy Savile, ‘Fred the Shred’, faceless bureaucrats, and politicians of various shades.
The divisive dishonours system is an anachronism from a bygone age of princes and serfs.
It would make one a republican – not an Irish republican I hasten to add.
Former rugby player 2nd XV