Bertie Ahern leads tributes at funeral of former political adviser Paddy Duffy

LED by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the Fianna Fáil old guard turned out in strength to say farewell to the party’s former political adviser, Paddy Duffy, on Wednesday.

The packed funeral congregation also included representatives of media and public relations, teaching, trade unions and other people with whom he came in contact over a diverse and successful career.  Mr Duffy, aged 75, died suddenly, at an airport in London in the company of Mr Ahern as both travelled back from a peace engagement in Papua New Guinea on October 17.

At the funeral mass in Dublin Airport church there were prayers and hymns in English and Irish to celebrate his long and varied life, and especially his love of his wife, Margaret, and his children and grandchildren.  Mr Duffy’s son, Gavin, thanked all who had helped his father when he was suddenly taken ill and he paid a special tribute to Mr Ahern recalling a 40-year friendship he had with his father.

Fr Des Doyle told the congregation that Paddy Duffy was a lover of words and a student of philosophy who had a deep Christian faith.  Mr Duffy’s brother-in-law, Malachy Kerr, said his many interests  were totally diverse and he had recently taken to photography and cultivating Irish wild flowers.

Mr Kerr said he had planted wildflowers on public land near his home which were cut down by the Council’s lawnmower. “Paddy, being the man he is, got a sign professionally made which read: ‘No grass cutting – by order.’  When the flowers grew again, they were not cut down,” Mr Kerr recalled to the great amusement of the congregation.

Paddy Duffy was a native of Athboy, Co Meath, and a proud supporter of that county’s teams. He had a life-long dedication to the Irish language, was a founder and principal of Gaelscoil na Cille in Ashbourne, and was a regular contributor to Raidió na Gaeltachta’s news and discussion programmes.

The large Fianna Fáil contingent was led by deputy leader, Dara Calleary and general secretary Seán Dorgan, and included TDs, Darragh O’Brien and Shane Cassells.  Also present were Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Denis O’Donovan, and Senator Gerry Horkan.

Former government ministers present included Tony Killeen, Ned O’Keeffe, Brendan Daly, and Mary Hanafin. There were two former government press secretaries, Joe Lennon and Mandy Johnston, present along with former ministerial adviser, Derek Mooney.

Other attendees included businessman Denis O’Brien, RTÉ Northern Editor, Tommie Gorman, and radio journalist Eileen Brophy. Former trade union leader, Mick Reilly, was there as was gay rights activist Tiernan Brady.

There was a host of people from the public relations sector, in which Mr Duffy worked for many years, including Dave Curtin, and Jackie Gallagher. Mr Duffy’s remains were laid to rest at Dardistown Cemetery.

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