Maureen Haughey funeral told of ‘republican in the truest sense’

‘Nationalist to her fingertips’ was proud of legacy of late father, former taoiseach Séan Lemass

Maureen Haughey (91), who died on St Patrick's Day, used to joke that her late father, former taoiseach Seán Lemass, could never pronounce the word loyalty.

He used say “loyletty”, her daughter Eimear Mulhern recalled on Tuesday.

“That was a value he cherished deeply. He need never have worried that he had not passed that virtue on to his eldest daughter,” she said.

Ms Mulhern was speaking at the end of the requiem Mass for her late mother at St Sylvester's church in Malahide, Dublin.


"Maureen was Irish to the core. She was a daughter of Ireland, a republican in the truest sense of the word. A nationalist to her fingertips. Her Lemass heritage was very important to her and, quietly, she took enormous pride in her father and his legacy.

Justifiably proud

“She was fiercely proud of his role in the struggle for freedom and the part he played as a young boy in the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. She was justifiably proud too of that young man who fought for his country, who then helped to transform it to the modern and progressive democracy we enjoy today.”

But, Ms Mulhern recalled, “she was Maureen Haughey too, and she was also very proud of my father Charlie, her husband. She was fiercely loyal to him and she was in his corner at all times.

“An intelligent, well-rounded, logical person. I always thought, if she had been born at a different time in a different era, what might she have achieved herself in business or in politics.

“She was a keen observer of politics and current affairs, right to the end. She had a very keen political brain and she was a very good judge of character. Way better than my father, she often joked,” she said.

“As a mother and a grandmother she was passionately supportive of us all,” she added.

Mrs Haughey “endured a lot of trials in her life, but she was stoic and dignified and held her head up quietly and held her counsel. It was particularly gratifying to see her enjoy the years after my father had retired.

"They spent a lot of time together in France and most importantly on our beloved Inishvickillane," Ms Mulhern said.

The celebrant was Capuchin priest Fr Bryan Shortall, assisted by Oblate Fathers Warren, Mulligan and McEvoy, and Msgr Tom Stack.

In the prayers of the faithful, Mrs Haughey’s grandson Seán Lemass remembered “the men and women of the Coast Guard service and the volunteers of the RNLI for their brave and heroic acts of service to help those in distress”.

Chief mourners were Mrs Haughey’s children Eimear, Conor, Ciarán and Seán, and her eight grandchildren – Seán, Patrick, Caoimhe, Cathal, Joseph, Ronan, Niall and Eoin.

President Michael D Higgins was represented by Lt Cmdr Patricia Butler and Taoiseach Enda Kenny by Cmdt Will Collins.

Overflow attendance

Among the overflow attendance was Fionnuala Kenny, wife of the Taoiseach, and Niamh O'Connor, both of of whom had worked for former taoiseach Charles Haughey.

A large Fianna Fáil contingent present included party leader Micheál Martin, TDs Seán Fleming, Dara Calleary, Timmy Dooley, Jim O'Callaghan, Stephen Donnelly, John Lahart, John Curran, Niamh Smyth, Michael Moynihan, Thomas Byrne, Billy Kelleher, Eugene Murphy, Darragh O'Brien, Eamon Scanlon, and Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae.

Also present were Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Denis O'Donovan and Senators Terry Leyden and Mark Daly.

Retired Fianna Fáil politicians there included former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Ray MacSharry, Gerard Collins, Rory O'Hanlon, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Martin Mansergh, Mary Hanafin, Michael Woods, Dermot Ahern, Tom Kitt, Séamus Kirk, Noel Treacy, Brendan Daly, Donie Cassidy, Don Lydon and GV Wright.

In attendance also were former Supreme Court judge Hugh O'Flaherty, Gerry Danaher SC, former Labour party general secretary Séamus Scally, businessmen Dermot Desmond and Ulick McEvaddy, broadcaster Vincent Browne and PR executives James Morrissey and Caroline Kennedy.

Burial afterwards was at St Fintan's cemetery in Sutton.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times