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Friday 22 August 2014

Padraig C Herr

Founder member of the Irish League of Credit Unions whose aim in life was to help others

Published 23/02/2014 | 02:30

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PADRAIG C Herr, who died last month, was a man who embodied a very old-fashioned virtue: kindness.

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He was a founder member of the Irish League of Credit Unions. This was typical of him. Whether it was through his work in the credit union or using his carpentry skills to help to build houses for his extended family and his friends during his summer holidays, his purpose in life was to help his fellow man.

Born in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, Padraig was one of the nine children of schoolteachers Thomas and Sally Herr. He became a carpenter in his early days, first as an apprentice in the local mill and later taking classes at Bolton Street, Dublin.

He married Rosetta O'Neill, a nurse from Blackrock, Co Louth, whom he met through his sisters Maureen and Eimear, also nurses. The couple were married in Blackrock Church in 1957.

An ambitious couple, they moved to New York, but when their own family started to arrive, they returned to Ireland where Padraig began a teaching career, culminating in a third-level lectureship in Building Construction in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT).

Padraig was an excellent craftsman with wood and he created all of the sets in DKIT for the annual drama week, even building a boat with his students in Monaghan.

Padraig was entitled to American citizenship because his father, Thomas C Herr, had been born in New York. When Padraig's children grew up, he set about getting green cards for them by working in New York for a summer, where he re-registered his father's birth. An added bonus of that summer was that he returned to his love of carpentry and got a job on a local building site alongside many young Irish carpenters

Three of his seven children, Sally Ann, Neal and Ultan, availed of their green cards during the recession in Ireland in the late Eighties.

Padraig was a people person, who enjoyed the company of others, but none more so than that of seven children and 20 grandchildren. He went to every game in which his sons and grandchildren played for Dundalk rugby club.

Padraig retired from DKIT in 1997. To this day, his wife Rosetta and children continue to meet people from all over the world who were taught by Padraig in Dundalk. All remark on the emphasis he placed on education and the need to believe in a better future. He grew old in the company of the extended family of whom he was so proud.

Padraig suffered increasing ill health in his last years. He is survived by his wife Rosetta, his children, Ollan, Ciaran, Padraig, Sally Ann, Neal, Ultan and Rosetta, his grandchildren and his sisters Eileen, Maureen and Eimear and his brother Connell.

Sunday Independent

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