Former Fine Gael politician Seymour Crawford was a peacemaker, who had made a significant contribution to the peace process, mourners at his funeral in Co Monaghan were told on Tuesday.
Addressing a service of thanksgiving at Newbliss Presbyterian Church, retired Presbyterian minister and father of the Presbytery of Monaghan Rev David Nesbitt said the politician was a big man in stature and in heart, in his interests and commitments, and in his generosity.
Mr Crawford, who grew up on a dairy farm at Drumkeen, Aghabog, died on Saturday aged 74. The main mourners were his nephews, Andrew and Alistair and niece Kirsten.
As a former county councillor and then Dáil deputy for Cavan-Monaghan from 1992 to 2011, he was well known in the local community. He worked with farmers’ groups locally and nationally and was an active member of the local branch of the Irish Farmers’ Association. IFA president Joe Healy joined Co Monaghan representatives at the gates of the church to pay tribute along with local and national politicians from various parties as the cortege arrived.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, who comes from the same area and succeeded Mr Crawford in the Dáil, read the first lesson. Retired Catholic priest Fr Sean Nolan from Donaghmoyne, who the congregation was told was a long-time friend of Mr Crawford, read the second lesson containing the Beatitudes, with the words: "Blessed are the peacemakers."
The humility of Mr Crawford was in contrast to what he called the me, me, me culture prevalent in society
Rev Colin Anderson, who led the service, described Mr Crawford as a peacemaker. He urged mourners to follow his very humble life and to be peacemakers.
“This is a small island, divided by an invisible border; but an island that is still troubled, so let peace prevail and work hard for peace,” he said.
He added that the humility of Mr Crawford was in contrast to what he called “the me, me, me culture prevalent in society”.
“The society we live in today has become very narcissistic and self-engrossing,” he said, but, “to blame our politicians for the epidemic is misguided.”
Rev Nesbitt in his eulogy highlighted the former politician’s deep interest in cross-border structures and his work in advancing North/South understanding, trust and reconciliation. In 2004 he served as vice chair of the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body, of which he was a member for 14 years. In this work, he “made a significant contribution to the peace process”.
The President and Taoiseach were represented by their aides-de-camp, Comdt Brian Walsh and Comdt Caroline Burke, respectively. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, had paid a private visit to Mr Crawford's house on Monday and among the other callers at the wake were former taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan.
Former Fine Gael ministers Nora Owen and Alan Dukes were among the attendance at the funeral, which included Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth, as well as Fine Gael Senator Joe O'Reilly.