Legal life of the late Anthony Hederman was ‘a vocation’

Former judge and attorney general buried in Castleknock college cemetery

The late Justice Anthony Hederman

The late Justice Anthony Hederman

Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 13:21

The legal life of former judge and attorney general Anthony Hederman was a vocation and he had a respect for the Constitution of a country he loved, those at his funeral heard.

Fr Brian D’Arcy told mourners Mr Hederman had worked from the level of “utter conviction’’, adding that he had been a harsh judge of himself

Mr Hederman, who enrolled as a pupil in Dublin’s Castleknock college in 1933, was buried in its cemetery yesterday.

He served as attorney general in the 1977 to ‘81 Fianna Fail government, before being appointed to the Supreme Court. He died, aged 92, in Dublin last Friday after a short illness.

Students formed a guard of honour as Mr Hederman’s remains were taken from the chapel following Requiem Mass celebrated by college president Fr Peter Slevin.

In his homily, Passionist priest Fr D’Arcy, a friend of many years, referred to Mr Hederman’s love for the Vincentian order, founders of the college in 1835, who had passed on to him his central vocation of justice. He believed that law should be the servant of justice.

He said that Mr Hederman had almost tried too hard to be good throughout his life. He spoke of his late friend’s charitable work and how he had accompanied him around the streets of Dublin to observe at first-hand the problem of homelessness.

“It was extraordinary over the years the lengths he would go to deflect credit from himself, particularly in his charitable life,” he added.

Fr D’Arcy said that Mr Hederman worked from the level of “utter conviction’’, adding that he had been a harsh judge of himself. His legal life, he added, was a vocation and he had a respect for the Constitution of a country he loved.

He was a man of inherent humility, with an extraordinary sense of gratitude for what life had given him, said Fr D’Arcy.

“For a man of such high achievements, in so many areas of life…a man who exerted incredible influence in shaping many things in our country…he was grateful for what he had received,” he added.

Fr D’Arcy said a “reluctant goodbye’’ to “an absolute gentleman, loyal friend and unique person”.

The chief mourners were his sister Miriam, nephews and nieces Donat, Aoife, Eilis, Dervilla and Murrough.

President Michael D Higgins was represented by Cmdt James Galvin, while Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham led representatives of the judiciary, including former chief justice John Murray, Mr Justice John MacMenamin, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, Mr Justice Frank Clarke and former Supreme Court judge Hugh O’Flaherty.

Des O’Malley, who served in the Fianna Fáil Cabinet in which Mr Hederman was attorney general, and Fianna Fáil general secretary Sean Dorgan were also present.