Ted Nealon’s accomplishments in politics and journalism were celebrated at his funeral Mass in Sligo yesterday, but it was “his graceful, gentle ways” and devotion to family which his son Fergal highlighted in a moving eulogy.
Hundreds of people, many of them former colleagues and friends from the media and political establishment, came to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo to hear Fr Jim Murray recount the many ways the former minister of state had made his mark.
His career with the Irish Press, The Irish Times-published Sunday Review and on RTÉ's flagship Seven Days current affairs show were recalled. But it was probably his "legendary" ability to predict results during marathon election counts for which he was most admired, said Fr Murray.
In Sligo he was from 1981 to 1997 famous as the local TD who served as minister of state on three occasions, but, said Fr Murray, he was never too busy to stop and chat, especially to his neighbours.
The gifts presented at the altar emphasised the rich tapestry of a life fully lived, among which was the first edition of Nealon's Guide to the Dáil and Seanad published in 1973 and the sash and medallion he received when he was awarded the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1985, "one of his proudest achievements".
President Michael D Higgins was represented by his aide de camp Col Brendan McAndrew and Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by Comdt Alan Bolger.
The Taoiseach's wife Fionnuala Kenny also attended, as did the Mayor of Sligo Cllr Marcella McGarry and the chairman of Sligo County Council Cllr Pat McGrath .
Former chief political correspondent Denis Coghlan represented The Irish Times.