Saturday 21 October 2017

Pope Francis's emissary in Ireland pays special tribute to former TD

Mourners carry the coffin from the church at Peter Mathew’s funeral yesterday. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Mourners carry the coffin from the church at Peter Mathew’s funeral yesterday. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
John Downing

John Downing

Pope Francis's emissary in Ireland, the Papal Nuncio, today paid a special tribute to former TD Peter Mathews on behalf of the Pontiff.

Delivering a commendation at the funeral of the former Fine Gael TD for Dublin South, Archbishop Charles Brown said Mr Mathews was "an outstanding citizen and a great patriot who possessed a radiant faith".

A large group of former political colleagues - including Taoiseach Enda Kenny - attended the funeral service. The attendance was dominated by Fine Gael colleagues. But there was a wide representation from all the other parties. President Michael D Higgins was represented by his aide de camp, Col Michael Kiernan.

The Papal Nuncio was among 10 priests who concelebrated Mass in Donnybrook, Dublin, for the 65-year-old former TD who died earlier this week after a 13-month battle with cancer.

He had served as a TD from 2011 to 2016.

Chief celebrant Father Conor Harper SJ said he was a man of old-world courtesy and charm, of integrity and courage.

Peter Mathews Picture: Tom Burke
Peter Mathews Picture: Tom Burke

His three sons - James, John and David - paid moving tributes to their father, stressing the noble way he bore the battle against his disease. There were also tributes from his wife Susan, daughter Maria, extended family and many friends.

Eldest son John described his father as "a family man who was a man for others".

He said he offered his "help, advice and love" and "sometimes even when it wasn't asked for".

Irish Independent

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