MICHAEL FOX (1936-1987) – Garda, historian, community activist and founder of the Leitrim Guardian.

Following the completion of his formal education in the local Vocational School, Michael found employment in Joseph Mitchell’s hardware and grocery shop (now SuperValu) in Upper Main Street.  He joined the local Sean McDermott’s GAA club and for five years, without any remuneration, wrote a weekly column about the game in the Leitrim Observer under the pen-name Gael Óg.  He was also a prominent member of the Sean McDermott Dramatic Troupe and the Castle Street Band.  Michael joined the Guards in 1958 and was promoted sergeant in Kilfinnane, Co Limerick in 1967.  Although now domiciled almost 200 miles away, he became concerned that the twin evils of emigration and unemployment were endangering the very existence of his native county as a separate administrative unit.  So, almost singlehandedly he edited and published a new magazine, the Leitrim Guardian, which aimed at extolling the beauty, history and heritage of the county for all to see.  In this way he hoped to restore the pride and self-reliance of his fellow-county men and women, while at the same time calling on the government to support local employment through appropriate small industries, tourism and farmer-owned afforestation.  Fifty years later, the Leitrim Guardian still continues to enlighten and inspire.  Michael was also one of the instigators of the Wild Rose Festival in Manorhamilton, as well as the driving force behind a new secondary school, a £300,000 sports complex and other projects in Kilfinnane.  His untimely death, at the age of 51, occurred in May 1987 and he was survived by his wife Kathleen, his five children, his mother, brothers and sisters.