Sunday 11 December 2016

Minister pays tribute to mother who worked as WWII code cracker

Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30

Transport Minister Shane Ross helps to carry the coffin of his mother Ruth Isabel Ross at her funeral at St Patrick’s Church in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, yesterday Photo: Doug O’Connor
Transport Minister Shane Ross helps to carry the coffin of his mother Ruth Isabel Ross at her funeral at St Patrick’s Church in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, yesterday Photo: Doug O’Connor

Transport Minister Shane Ross remembered his late mother as an "extraordinary woman" of "extraordinary intelligence" as she was laid to rest yesterday.

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Ruth Isabel Ross (96), who worked at Britain's top secret World War II code-cracking centre, passed away at home on October 17.

Mourners gathered at St Patrick's Church in Enniskerry to pay their final respects.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were represented by their respective aides-de-camp, Lt Commander Patricia Butler and Commandant Terry White.

Mrs Ross, known in her family as Rubel, was born in England and attended Cambridge University where she met her husband, the late John Ross.

Shane Ross spoke of her "extraordinary intelligence" and told mourners how she had worked at the famous Bletchley Park facility that cracked German codes during World War II.

He said that she had signed the Official Secrets Act and never divulged the full nature of her work there. He spoke of how she had become an author in later life and that her garden was one of her "great joys".

Mr Ross recalled how his mother was a monarchist and told of her delight that he had tea with Princess Anne when she visited the Dublin Horse Show this year.

Mrs Ross, a mother of four, was remembered as a loving grandmother and great-grandmother when her daughter Barbara Ann addressed the congregation.

Those attending included Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl and Attorney General Máire Whelan. Also present were Mr Ross's Independent Alliance colleagues, junior ministers Finian McGrath and John Halligan, Health Minister Simon Harris, government chief whip Regina Doherty, Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy, Independent deputies Noel Grealish and Mattie McGrath and former senators Joe O'Toole and Donie Cassidy.

'Sunday Independent' editor Cormac Bourke and 'Irish Examiner' political editor Daniel McConnell attended as well.

Irish Independent

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