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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Republican Sinn Féin organiser in Kerry

Published 13/11/2013 | 05:36

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The late Brian Smullen.

The late Brian Smullen

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1948-2013

BRIAN SMULLEN of Marian Park, Tralee, passed away on Thursday, October 24, after a short illness which he faced with great fortitude.

Brian was born in Rathcobican, Rhode, Co Offaly, in 1948 and as a young man played Gaelic football and indeed got a trial for the Offaly minors in 1965.

Due to lack of employment at home, he moved to Belfast around 1967 and worked for about two years in the building industry. It was in Belfast that Brian joined the republican movement.

He emigrated to London in 1969, where he met his wife Tess O'Brien from Tralee. Their paths crossed at the Gresham ballroom and they later moved back to Tralee, where they were married in St John's Church in 1970.

Brian and Tess were blessed with a family of eight daughters - seven of whom were born in Kerry, with Geraldine being born in Offaly.

Brian again worked in the building trade for a number of years with O'Brien's.

He resumed his republican activities around 1972 and worked tirelessly over the years up until his death, when he was organiser of Republican Sinn Fein in Kerry.

During the hunger strike in Long Kesh in 1981, Brian travelled all over Munster organising and speaking at H-Block rallies. He also drove the Kerry prisoners' wives up to Portlaoise Jail over a number of years.

Brian started his own removal business in 1993 and travelled all over Ireland, England and indeed the Faroe Islands with a troupe from Siamsa Tire.

He retired in January, 2009 and during the last few summers travelled all over Kerry with his wife, Tess.

Brian passed away at Kerry General Hospital on Thursday, October 24.

His remains were removed from his residence to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Rathass, where Fr Gerard Finucane, celebrated the Requiem Mass.

A truly wonderful ceremony followed, with music by the O'Shea brothers, heartfelt tributes by Billy Shannon, Siobhan Walsh, Caroline O'Shea and Fr Finucane.

The tricolour-draped coffin was removed from the church by Brian's comrades to the waiting hearse.

A colour party and Sinn Fein guard of honour with two pipers accompanied the remains to Rath cemetery. Prayers at the graveside were offered by Frs Finucane and Crean.

Stephen Brosnan organised proceedings. Matt Leen recited "I Am Kerry", Geraldine McNamara from Tipperary gave a stirring oration, Brian's daughter Therese Anne sang "Sean South of Garryowen" and Amhran na bhFiann was played by the piper.

Brian is survived by his wife Tess, daughters Geraldine, Elizabeth, Mary, Therese Ann, Bernadette, Caroline, Siobhan and Roisin, 17 grandchildren, sons-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, relatives and friends.

Brian's Month's Mind Masss will take place at the hospital chapel on Sunday, November 24 at 11am.

Kerryman

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