Touching tributes to councillor who had been a 'tour de force'
The family and friends of a Polish man facing charges over the death of Councillor Willie Crowley were remembered in prayer at his funeral mass.
Damian Klansincki (28), of Newtown, Nurney, Co Kildare, appeared before Naas District Court, charged with leaving the scene of an accident at Newbridge, Co Kildare, in which Councillor Crowley (65) was seriously injured and died three days later.
Mourners at his funeral yesterday at St Conleth's church in the town were led by his wife, Claire, daughter Kathryn and grandson Shane.
Shane Ross TD - for whose Independent Alliance Cllr Crowley was due to run in the next General Election - was in attendance, with Martin Heydon TD of Fine Gael and Jack Wall TD of Labour.
Mayor of Kildare, Brendan Weld; Sean Dunne, President of Newbridge Chamber of Commerce; George Kennedy President of the Rotary club and Peter Carey, CEO of Kildare Co Co were there, with all the members of Kildare Co Co.
In an emotional tribute, Morgan McCabe - who ran his election campaign - said Cllr Crowley had been a "tour de force" of local politics and had got much done for people.
"We can only imagine what he would have achieved on a national level. They can all breathe a sigh of relief," he said.
He said the winter lights display in the town, in which Cllr Crowley had been instrumental, would remind them of him every year.
Mr McCabe once suggested they rent an office but Cllr Crowley looked down at his shoes and said: "This is my office," preferring to go out on the streets to meet people.
"Our office is closed now," said Mr McCabe, amid deep emotion.
Parish Priest, Fr Paul Dempsey spoke of Cllr Crowley's talent for bringing people together and his generosity of spirit - adding that he had worked tirelessly for the six families who had been made homeless following a devastating fire at Millfield Manor in the town last April.
Meanwhile he paid tribute to him as a "great host" who loved nothing more than feeding people and regaling them with stories.