Monday 24 October 2016

World of politics bids farewell to spindoctor PJ

PJ Mara's partner Sheila Tormey
PJ Mara's partner Sheila Tormey

Legendary political strategist PJ Mara's funeral was a world away from "any razzmatazz and spin", just as he had wished.

The former Fianna Fail spindoctor was laid to rest alongside his beloved wife, Breda, at Mount Cross cemetery in Kinvara, Co Galway.

His partner Sheila, his son John, daughter-in-law Clare and family members stood side-by-side for a final farewell.

The coffin was draped in a tricolour which was then removed and folded in strict observance of protocol before being presented to Mr Mara's son, John.


Fr Frank Larkin of St Joseph's in Galway and formerly of Kinvara parish then presided over a brief ceremony, saying the people of Kinvara had known PJ Mara well "and enjoyed his company so much".

A decade of the rosary was said over the coffin and a lone piper played Raglan Road and Lord Lovett's Lament as Mr Mara was laid to rest in the rocky soil of his wife's birthplace, which had been a second home to him throughout his life.

There was an emotional round of applause as Michael Brogan - Mr Mara's brother-in-law - sang The Tide Full In by local poet and songwriter Francis Fahy.

The Taoiseach was represented by his Aide-de-camp Commandant Kieran Carey and Former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were in attendance.

General Secretary of Fianna Fail Sean Dorgan, businessman Denis O'Brien and economist Colm McCarthy were also present.

Former EU Commissioner and Finance Minister Ray McSharry, former Minister Ned O'Keeffe, former FF Senator Martin Mackin, former FF TD Brendan Daly and former MEP Mark Killilea were also there.

Sean O'Rourke and David Davin-Power of RTE and John McNamara, director of the Galway University Foundation - to which Mr Mara had given invaluable advice about fundraising and profile - were also amongst the mourners.

The funeral at Haddington Road Church in Dublin on Saturday heard that Mr Mara had been a man "who made friends everywhere".

Principal celebrant Fr Patrick Claffey, a long-time friend of Mr Mara, said: "There was a lot more to PJ Mara than the style and the flamboyance.

"He was a man of real substance, of moral substance, a man who assumed his life and lived it fully."

Mr Mara is survived by his partner Sheila, children John and Elena, daughter-in-law Clare and grandson Jack.

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