Tributes paid to Ó Sé's 'great contribution'

Mon, Dec 17, 2012, 00:00

Former Kerry footballer Páidí Ó Sé will be buried in his native Ventry in the west Kerry Gaeltacht tomorrow.

His remains, which will repose at his home at Ard a Bhóthair, Ventry, today, will be removed tomorrow to the stone church across the road for Requiem Mass at noon, followed by burial at Reilig Caitlíona.

Mr Ó Sé, who died suddenly on Saturday, is survived by his wife, Máire, daughters, Neasa and Siún and son Pádraig Óg. Prayers were said for him at several Masses in Kerry.

A hugely popular figure within the county and beyond, he was a close friend of three Fianna Fáil taoisigh, the late Charles Haughey, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.

His friendships extended cross-party, which will be underlined today when Labour Mayor Terry O’Brien leads its 27 members in tributes to him at Kerry County Council.

Although Gaelic football was his first love, Mr Ó Sé was also hugely interested in politics and had not ruled out a career at domestic or European level. He was mentioned as a possible Fianna Fáil candidate for the European parliament some years ago.

Leading the many tributes, President Michael D Higgins said his reputation went far beyond his great achievements in sport and in his own county. “It was a great contribution,” he added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Ó Sé was a footballer of great courage and skill whose enormous personality was shaped by his place of birth.

He said he hoped his family’s grief would be “tempered by the warmth of recollection of a life fully lived”.

Other party leaders paid tribute including Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, a former colleague on the playing fields, said his “talent, commitment and energy were legendary”.

Former Fianna Fáil minister John O’Donoghue, who appointed Mr Ó Sé to the Fáilte Ireland board, recalled their regular meetings when he held constituency clinics at Mr Ó Sé’s Ventry pub.

“He was wonderful company and a great raconteur,” said Mr O’Donoghue. “He was a wonderful human being.”

Mayo Fine Gael TD and former Mayo, Galway and Leitrim GAA football manager John O’Mahony said he would be remembered not only as one of the greatest footballers of his time but also as a very successful manager.