FORMER broadcaster Brian Farrell had a gift for friendship, his funeral mass has heard.
Hundreds of mourners attended the mass at the Church of the Holy Cross in Dundrum, including many colleagues from his lengthy career at RTE.
The 85-year-old passed away on Monday, and he was fondly remembered as a family man.
Mr Farrell was "a great inquisitor and a great political commentator" but was also "utterly unassuming with an innate courtesy", said former Chief Justice Ronan Keane, a life-long friend.
In his eulogy, Mr Keane said that his friend possessed "a great capacity for friendship which he extended to people in all walks of life".
The chief mourners were Mr Farrell's wife Marie-Therese and his children Naomi, Bernard, Miriam, David, Rachel, Theo and Brian. Mr Farrell was pre-deceased by his daughter Jeanne-Marie, who died in infancy.
President Higgins, who is on a visit to Africa, and the Taoiseach who is in New York were represented by their aides de camp.
Also present at the mass yesterday were Tanaiste Joan Burton, Communications Minister Alex White, RTE Director-General Noel Curran as well as Prime Time presenters Miriam O'Callaghan and David McCullagh, former ministers Des O'Malley and Nora Owen, former broadcasters Mike Murphy and Rodney Rice and chef Dylan McGrath.
Mr Farrell presented some of the top current affairs programmes on RTE for four decades and led the coverage of ten general election counts over the period, and also spent many years lecturing on politics in UCD.
Mr Farrell's son David, who is a professor of political science in UCD, told the packed church that the mass was "a celebration of an extraordinary man", and that he had lived "the fullest of private lives" with his beloved wife and seven children.
The well-known broadcaster began his career in 1957, initially on radio, and he became known for his forensic interviewing style, particularly when questioning politicians.