herald

Saturday 21 April 2018

Prayers for Disappeared at funeral of former civil service head Murray

Frank Murray, former head of the Irish civil service
Frank Murray, former head of the Irish civil service

Special prayers for people brutally "disappeared" by the IRA were said at the funeral of a man who led efforts to have their remains recovered and buried by loved ones.

Frank Murray, former head of the Irish civil service, worked for 11 years as co-director of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR).

At his funeral Mass in Foxrock, Dublin, his son Paul said he was dedicated to this work after his retirement as secretary to the government.

His father's big regret was that remains of three of the 16 concerned remained unlocated and these people - Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac - were given special mention during the prayers.

Mr Murray's co-director of the ICLVR, Kenneth Bloomfield, a former head of the North's civil service, also attended.

President Michael D Higgins, who worked as a minister with Mr Murray from 1992 until 1997, led the official attendance which included senior politicians, civil servants, gardai and army personnel.

Mr Murray (76) retired from the civil service's most senior post in 2000 and did a number of jobs for government in the ensuing years, right up until his sudden death last Saturday.

Director

The coffin of Frank Murray is carried from the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock, Dublin
The coffin of Frank Murray is carried from the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock, Dublin

Mr Murray also served as a director of Independent News & Media (INM), which publishes the Herald and other leading titles. Terry Buckley, an INM director, represented the company at his funeral.

The Taoiseach was represented by his aide de camp, Comdt Caroline Burke. Others attending included former ministers Alan Dukes and Mary Hanafin and former government press secretary Joe Lennon.

Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr Arthur O'Neill, parish priest of Foxrock, and Fr Paul Turley, a Redemptorist from Clonard in Belfast.

Also assisting at the Mass was Dermot McCarthy, Mr Murray's immediate successor to the most senior job in the national administration. Since his retirement from the civil service in 2011, Mr McCarthy has been ordained a deacon and he read the gospel and said the parting prayers.

Born in Carrick-on-Shannon in September 1941, Mr Murray was "a proud Leitrim man all his life". He met his wife of 52 years, Maureen, after joining the civil service in 1960.

Liam Cosgrave, a former Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann, recalled that Mr Murray was his father's private secretary when he served as Taoiseach from 1973-77. Mr Murray and Liam Cosgrave Senior had remained life-long friends.

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