Thursday 27 July 2017

Final farewells paid to Brendan Courtney's beloved 'hero' father Frank

Brendan Courtney and his mother Nuala
Brendan Courtney and his mother Nuala

Ian Begley

The late father of fashion designer Brendan Courtney was praised for sharing the story of his illness with the nation at his funeral this morning.

Over a hundred mourners turned out at St Kilian's Church, Kingwood, Dublin to pay tribute to father-of-four Frank Courtney (75). 

As the funeral procession gathered outside the church Brendan stayed close to his mother Nuala, holding onto her for emotional support. 

The simple, yet dignified ceremony formed a poignant memorial to the beloved father, husband and friend.  

Frank came to public prominence in January after the broadcast of documentary 'We Need To Talk About Dad' on RTE.

It was narrated by his son Brendan and featured their family struggling to access the 'Fair Deal' scheme as they cared for Frank, who suffered a stroke and was left paralysed.

Brendan Courtney and his mother Nuala
Brendan Courtney and his mother Nuala

Local deacon, Padraic O'Sullivan, who was joined by Reverend Fergus McGlynn, described how the documentary affected him.

"My wife and I were watching the programme about the challenges of caring for parents who were ill and in need of special care. 

"This was of course Frank's story and we identified with it straight away, as we both had similar experiences. 

"The difficulties of finding a suitable place, the advantages of caring for someone at home, the complications of the Fair Deal Scheme, and the balancing of the dynamics of the family. 

Designer Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney pictured at the funeral of Frank Courtney
Designer Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney pictured at the funeral of Frank Courtney

"All of these issues were very familiar to us.

Read More: Brendan's tribute as 'hero' dad who featured in TV appeal dies

"But [Frank] pushed on. He didn’t just describe his challenges, he actually explored the political dimensions of them in order to improve the situation for all families in the future.

"It was a great programme and we were glad we watched it. 

"However, there was one particular moment in the programme when Brendan and Deboragh [his sister] were on the Tallaght bypass in a car.

"Their frustration, their helplessness, their hopelessness was palpable. 

"We [could both relate] to it because we were there and knew what this felt like," he said. 

Read More: Brendan leads tributes as 'hero' dad Frank passes away

After the service, Frank was taken to Mount Jerome Crematorium, Harold’s Cross, accompanied by close friends and family.  

Following the passing of his father's death, Brendan told the Irish Independent that the documentary  "started a conversation" in this country about caring for elderly relatives. 

"That documentary, it marked a beautiful time and we were really proud of it and Dad. Of course my dad was suspicious, wanting to know how if he came across strange. But I told him 'no Dad - you're a hero'," he said. 

The documentary prompted a huge public response. In March, Minister for Older People Helen McEntee said  the first public consultation to gather views on a proposed statutory home care scheme and was due to be launched last month.

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