A HELL of a worker and a great friend is how the father of the new chief of the world’s most formidable intelligence agency was described by a man who hasn’t seen him in 57 years but still remembers him fondly.
Charlie Behan, Cloghabrody, Thomastown worked as a farrier alongside Owen Brennan at the blacksmith’s on the Mount Juliet estate nearly 60 years ago. Owen’s son, John O. Brennan has been nominated as the head of the world’s most elaborate spy network, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
When speaking in Dublin last October, the new CIA boss mentioned that his 92-year-old father Eoin had worked in Mount Juliet before emigrating to the US .
The Kilkenny People made contact with Thomastown Cllr Michael O’Brien who’s father worked at Mount Juliet and he got us in touch with Charlie who is 88 years old and remembers his old pal as if it was only yesterday.
“He stayed with us for three years and we played Gaelic football for Mt Juliet and we went to dances and went courting,” Charlie said.
And, yes, Mr Brennan broke a lot of local hearts when he emigrated to the USA in 1950, Charlie confirmed.
“He came back five years later to see me with his new wife, a lovely looking girl and that was it,” he said.
“However, a few years ago, John Brennan rang Mount Juliet and some one who answered the phone said they never heard of me and so I didn’t meet him,” Charlie pointed out.
Charlie said that Owen Brennan was a great worker and they had great times together in their youth. They shod hunters and thoroughbreds for the McCalmonts and worked a ten hour day and loved every minute of it.
Charlie, who is wheelchair bound, is anxious to make contact with Owen again and would like to talk to him after hearing that he is in good health. “It would be nice to talk again after all the years,” Charlie, who is wheelchair bound, said.
And we learn from Mary Flood of Kilkenny Family History at Rothe House that the new CIA chief could indeed be a Cat because a band of Brennans left Kilkenny in 1653 and settled around Kilteevan and Lecarrow, Co Roscommon where Owen Brennan is from.
Anyway, John O. Brennan, the new head of the most powerful secret organisation in the world is a devout Catholic and was in Ireland in October of last year for a conference and visited Roscommon but didn’t make it to Kilkenny because no one knew the great Charlie Behan at Mount Juliet.
Mr Brennan has been Barack Obama’s closest advisor on security since 2007 and was the brains behind the capture of Osama Bin Laden last year. He is a fluent Arabic speaker and has been a career spy for the last 25 years. He is not the only covert operative with Kilkenny roots. A Danesfort born woman received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in the last few years following her work with the British Secret Service and in particular MI5. She is keen to preserve her anonymity.