John Bailey was man of ‘compassion’, mourners told at funeral

Daughter Maria Bailey TD said father reared her to be a ‘strong, independent woman’

Former Dublin GAA county chair and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillor John Bailey was a man of "compassion," who was "dedicated to his family and the GAA," mourners at his funeral were told.

His daughter, Maria Bailey TD, told the congregation at the Church of the Assumption, Dalkey, Co Dublin that her father, who died last Tuesday at the age of 74 after battling motor neurone disease, had reared five daughters, "to be strong, independent women".

In fact, she said, to laughter, that his family probably influenced his decision to get involved in politics: “A house full of women, not quiet women – vocal women – he may have got into politics for peace!”

John Bailey had been elected for the fourth time to the DLR Council in May’s local elections, having served since 2004. He was Cathaoirleach of the Council for 2011-12.


Among the gifts brought to the altar were a family picture, his commemorative medal for refereeing the 1986 All-Ireland final, a Cuala jersey and a Dublin jersey, symbolising the importance of family and the GAA in his life.

As chair of the Dublin county board, he was instrumental in the redevelopment of Parnell Park in the mid-1990s.

Msgr Eoin Thynne, chief celebrant of the funeral Mass, said: "The presence of so many here this morning and at yesterday evening's removal is a testament to the high honour and respect in which they held John Bailey.

“There are so many who will miss him and none greater than his wife of 48 years Angela, his daughters Suzanne, Elaine, Maria, Johanna and Allison and his 13 grandchildren.”


He added that a team from Cuala, one of many who had been trained by John Bailey down the years, had visited him as a group only recently.

Maria Bailey paid tribute to her father’s values.

“To Dad, family was first and foremost. He was our captain, demonstrating to us all the values of compassion, honesty, integrity, hard work, determination, leadership.

“Whereas Dad’s sporting and political careers clearly demonstrated his ‘giving back,’ privately we saw first-hand, what Dad gave to others at their time of need and he did so with compassion, dignity, respect and with the utmost confidentiality.

“When you come through the storm, you’ll be a stronger person on the other side. We have come through the storm and we’ve lost our captain but we are stronger for it. No matter what the storm is, you will always have your family.”

Recalling her father’s enthusiasm for politics and campaigning, she said:

“He’d be standing at the back of the room now seeing who’s here and more importantly, who’s not here – and why they’re not here!”

Among the mourners were Commandant Caroline Burke, aide-de-camp to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty, Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor, former Ceann Comhairle and TD for Dún Laoghaire Seán Barrett, MEPs Frances Fitzgerald and Barry Andrews, Cllr Shay Brennan, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council Philomena Poole, chief executive of DLR Council Superintendent Martin Fitzgerald representing An Garda Síochána, former Director General of the GAA, Páraic Duffy, CEO of Dublin GAA John Costello, former Cork GAA CEO Frank Murphy, chair of Cuala GAA club Damian McKeown, Dublin manager Jim Gavin and footballers Con O'Callaghan and Michael Fitzsimons.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times