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Sunday 25 June 2017

'Missing' ex-husband of Beverley Flynn reunites with family at funeral

John Cooper (centre) at the funeral of his brother Peter Cooper
John Cooper (centre) at the funeral of his brother Peter Cooper
with ex-wife and former TD Beverley Flynn and her father Padraig Flynn
Peter Cooper

Shane Hickey London

THE ex-husband of former TD Beverley Flynn has been reunited with his family after being out of contact for the last 16 years.

John Cooper yesterday embraced mourners at the funeral of his brother Peter after a public appeal by the family for him to get back in touch with them.

Mr Cooper was married to the former Fianna Fail TD but split from her in 1997 and had not been heard from since by his family in London.

There were emotional scenes at the Beckenham Cemetery and Crematorium in Bromley yesterday afternoon as they were reunited.

His nephew, Stephen Cooper, had written to the Irish Independent in a bid to track down his uncle following the death of his father Peter.

This sparked questions about the whereabouts of Mr Cooper, who was later found to be working as a mechanical engineer in a firm in Blanchardstown, west Dublin.

Family members and friends embraced him outside the small chapel in south London before the service. "John, how are you?" said one before hugging him.

Dressed in a grey suit and black tie, Mr Cooper arrived a short time before the funeral of his eldest brother.

Stephen Cooper said on the night before the funeral that he had heard from his uncle via email after the apparent 'disappearance' made national headlines and they had exchanged a number of messages.

However, he was still unsure at the time about whether his uncle would actually attend the funeral.

Both sides of the family had been surprised at the reaction caused by the publicity, Stephen said.

Mr Cooper, who grew up in south London, moved to Ireland in 1989 after meeting Ms Flynn in France. They were married for six years.

His former father-in-law, ex-EU commissioner Padraig Flynn, also said that they had been out of contact and he had not heard from him since the split.

It emerged after the public appeal that Mr Cooper was working as a senior mechanical engineer for Malone Engineering in Blanchardstown and has been with the firm for the last 11 years.

It is still not clear how the family initially lost contact with each other. Calls following the funeral were not returned.

During his time married to Ms Flynn and while living in Castlebar, Mr Cooper kept a low profile. He has worked for Guinness in the past and was last seen holidaying in Westport.

In his open letter to newspapers, Stephen Cooper said that his father and his uncle had been "very close" up to his marriage to Beverley Flynn.

He appealed for anyone with information to contact the family so that Mr Cooper could bid a final farewell to his deceased brother.

Irish Independent

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