Tributes paid to former GAA president Paddy McFlynn

Derryman passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 96

Tributes have been paid to former GAA president Paddy McFlynn, who passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 96. During a long life that included 80 years of service to the association, he represented both his native Derry and later his county of residence Down with distinction in a wide range of official positions.

Up until his death the oldest surviving former president, he played a part in major events, including the Central Council meeting which decided to stage the 1947 All-Ireland football final in New York. He was at 16 a founder member of the O’Donovan Rossa club in Magherafelt and went on to become Derry county secretary in 1940 at the age of 23.

When he moved to Down his club was Tullylish.

It was however for his term as president between 1979 and ‘82 that he will be best known. This period was very difficult for the GAA both nationally and in Ulster with the Long Kesh hunger strikes of 1981 creating tensions within the GAA.

His autobiography Leading Through the Troubles - a Life in the GAA had been due to be officially launched last night in Newry.

Speaking today, his current successor Liam O’Neill paid tribute: “He was a wise, fatherly figure whose kind presence was noted by so many across all levels of the association. He was keenly involved in our activities right up until the end not least with the publishing of his book which is an important work, given the time span and the events it captures.

“He was erudite, interesting and intelligent man who will be sorely missed by all of those who came across him, not least his family and wide circle of friends and admirers.”

Martin McAviney, president of the Ulster Council, said McFlynn had been “an iconic Ulster and National GAA figure, a GAA giant who had given over 80 years of volunteer service to our Association.”