17 April 2008

Farewell to Dr. Patrick Hillery

Yesterday Ireland said farewell to our former President Dr. Patrick Hillery, who has been laid to rest with full military honours in a state funeral.

Hundreds of mourners, including
President Mary McAleese and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (above), the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, ministers and other members of the Oireachtas, the Judiciary and the diplomatic services, joined the Hillery family for the Requiem Mass at Dublin's St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral. Both President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern read during the Mass.

In his homily, Fr. Des Hillery, a nephew of the late former President, said his uncle's sense of fairness, kindness and hard work were based on values he grew up with at home. Patrick Hillery's wife Maeve, he added, was a constant companion and a fearless supporter with whom he shared more than 50 years of marriage.

Dr. Hillery's grandchildren brought gifts to the altar, including his sailing cap and a painting of his house at Spanish Point, Co. Clare.

After the Mass had ended, thousands of mourners lined the streets of Dublin as Dr. Hillery's funeral cortege was given a full military escort to St. Fintan's cemetery in Sutton, Co. Dublin, where the former President was laid to rest beside his daughter Vivienne.

Tánaiste Brian Cowen (left) delivered the graveside oration and said that Patrick Hillery will be remembered with the greatest respect and the deepest admiration, that "he embodied all that is noble and good in a man, doctor and public servant."
He described the former President as "a humble man of simple tastes" whose career of service should be a model for people to follow and replicate.
The Fianna Fáil leader-elect said that being asked to deliver the oration was a great honour for him, and he emphasised that Patrick Hillery's legacy would be a peaceful, highly educated and confident Republic.

At the request of the Hillery family "The Last Rose of Summer" was played before the coffin was lowered into the ground.

Dr. Patrick Hillery, who was President of Ireland for two full terms from 1976 to 1990, had died last Saturday at the age of 84. He is survived by his wife Maeve, son John and grandchildren, but mourned and fondly remembered also by the whole Irish nation.

The Emerald Islander

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