Breaking: Des Hanafin is laid to rest 'neath his native Thurles soil

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

Des Hanafin funeral

Fianna Fail members perform a Guard of Honour as Des Hanafin journeys for the last time through Thurles town.

Hundreds turn out to pay their final respects to the former Senator who was larger than life and  highly respected in political spheres.

"Des, Dessie, the Senator. But to me, he was my daddy."

The emotional words of former Minister Mary Hanafin as she paid tribute to her late father, former Senator Des Hanafin, at the end of his Requiem Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles this afternoon were followed by a massive round of applause as the congregation responded to the affectionate, humour-laden, and totally appropriate description of a man who lived a very full life.

Aged 86 years, and almost fifty years off the drink, Des Hanafin was living proof that it is possible to recover from addiction and participate in a very meaningful manner in society, in business, in politics and with family. Married to his beloved wife Mona for 59 years, the Thurles man was a key figure in Fianna Fail for almost five decades, working as a county councillor, a Senator and as chief fundraiser for many years. A devotee of Eamon de Valera, it was of much comfort to his family that Devs grandson Eamon O Cuiv delivered Des' graveside oration in St Patrick's Cemetery.

Among those who attended the Requiem Mass were Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin and political figures such as Sean Haughey, with whose father Charlie, Des had a famous bitter falling out, before making up many years later, Thomas Byrne, Avril Power, former  Irish Independent political correspondent and current Editor, Thurles man Fionnan Sheahan, Michael Smith, Jackie Cahill, Michael Lowry  as well as many other representatives of both houses of the Oireachtas. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahearn attended on Saturday evening as did Sean Fleming, John O'Donoghue, Mary Coughlan, Timmy Dooley and many other political figures. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins were represented by their respective Aide de Camps.

Chief Celebrant Rev Fr Tomas O'Connell spoke about the life of service which Des Hanafin had embarked upon and how Thurles and Tipperary were always to the forefront in his thinking. He had, he said, served his people well, mentioning his role in the Pro Life campaign - a subject also touched upon by Des' son, former Senator John Hanafin who spoke afterwards also.

Mass, which was concelebrated by, amongst others,  Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, was a celebration of Des Hanafins life and he was laid to rest afterwards in St Patrick's Cemetery.

See this weeks Tipperary Star for full and comprehensive coverage of the funeral of Des Hanafin, the many tributes paid to him, and a summation of the life and times of one the key political figures in Tipperary and Ireland.