FORMER senator and Trinity College academic Professor Trevor West was hailed at his funeral yesterday as a great Irishman whose Renaissance talents were matched by a life of verve, energy and public service.
Several moving tributes were paid to the Cork- born mathematician who passed away last Tuesday and whose funeral service was staged at St Fin Barre's Cathedral yesterday.
A native of Ballinacurra and a proud graduate of Midleton College, Professor West's passion for maths was matched by his lifelong love for sports, including cricket, rugby and athletics.
The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross, Dr Paul Colton, a friend of Professor West's, said that he had devoted his life to service -- and to ecumenism and peace on the island of Ireland.
Dr Colton cited moving tributes to Prof West from his friends including Professor Brendan Kennelly, former President Mary Robinson and Ulick O'Connor.
"He was a true Renaissance man -- and a man who lived his life with energy and verve," he told the packed cathedral.
He then became one of Ireland's foremost cricket organisers -- and played a crucial role in the development of the game at both club and university level.
Professor West was also deeply interested in politics and served as a senator in Seanad Eireann for 12 years from 1970 to 1983, losing his seat briefly in 1981 and finally in 1983.
He was a Seanad contemporary of Catherine McGuinness and Shane Ross -- and once served as Mary Robinson's election agent.
He entered the Seanad in 1970 a by-election for the University of Dublin constituency following the death of Owen Sheehy-Skeffington.
Professor West was also a noted author with his books including The Bold Collegians, a history of sport within Trinity College, and Co-operation and Politics, a study of the legacy of Horace Plunkett.
The mourners were led yesterday by Prof West's wife, Maura Lee, his brothers, John and Brian, his step-son Ian and his nieces and nephews.
Prof West's brother, John, is a former cricketer with Dublin University, Munster and Phoenix and also served as a respected international rugby referee.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by Cmdt Michael Treacy while President Michael D Higgins was represented by Col Brendan McAndrew. Also present were former Tanaiste Peter Barry, Cork East TD David Stanton, former Junior Minister Michael Ahern and Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Laura McGonigle.
The judiciary was represented by Judge Donagh McDonagh, Judge Patrick Moran and Judge Olann Kelleher.
Academics present included former UCC President Prof Michael Mortell, economist Prof Sean Barrett as well as representatives from Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University and University College Galway.
Midleton College provided a special guard of honour for their former Governor while retired former Midleton-based Chief Supt. Liam Hayes also attended.
Prof West's father, Tim, was the former Headmaster of Midleton College, which was founded in 1696 and ranks as one of Ireland's oldest schools.
Tim West is credited with having dramatically raised the profile of the east Cork school -- and with successfully expanded its sports programme.
Following the service, Prof West was buried at St John the Baptist Churchyard in his native Midleton alongside his parents and grandparents.