independent

Monday 20 October 2014

Death occurs of former Councillor McElheron

Published 26/07/2014 | 00:00

Cllr Vincent McElhron

Former Wicklow County Councillor and Mayor of Arklow Vincent McElheron was laid to rest in his home town on Saturday.

Former Wicklow County Councillor and Mayor of Arklow Vincent McElheron was laid to rest in his home town on Saturday.

He passed away at his home on South Quay, Arklow, on Wednesday. While his passing was sudden, Mr. McElheron had battled illness for many years and, most recenly, got the all-clear following cancer. He also suffered heart trouble and underwent bypass surgery, which gave him a new lease of life.

Poignantly, he was reading the 'Living' newspaper supplement on the day he died and it was noted in recent days that living was what he did best. He loved life and his community and he worked tirelessly for three decades for the betterment of Arklow.

Despite his failing health, his death came as a shock to many. He had recently beaten cancer and in the past had overcome major heart surgery, even running a successful election campaign from his hospital bed with the apt slogan 'Don't bypass Vincent'.

Son of the late John E. and May, Vincent was the youngest of four sons and the third member of his family to sit on Arklow Town Council.

Both of his parents served as town councillors and in 1985 Councillor Vincent McElheron took his own seat for the first time.

Mr. McElheron also held a seat on Wicklow County Council for eight years from 1991. A year later, he ran unsuccessfully for Dail Eireann yet this knock-back did not dent his dedication to local politics and he continued to serve his town and county.

He started off political life as a member of Fine Gael but quickly decided to sit as an Independent member, which he remained until his retirement in May of this year. He was the father of the council and was often looked to for advice on protocol and procedure, for which he had great respect.

His fellow councillors this week remarked that it was bittersweet that their former colleague's demise came so soon after the dissolution of the former Arklow Town Council but a personal victory for Vincent McElheron to have seen it through to the end regardless of his health woes.

Always impeccably dressed with full suit, tie and handkerchief, Mr. McElheron was Mayor of Arklow on four occasions in his life and took great pride in the role of First Citizen of Arklow. Local politics was his passion and his many years of experience working in public relations stood him in good stead to win many an argument inside the chambers.

As a young man, Mr. McElheron was the original spin doctor and worked as a political advisor under the Garrett Fitzgerald-led Government which would later collapse over the debacle over the introduction of VAT on children's shoes.

Before his career in Dublin took flight, he was well-known as a promoter and agent during the showband era and, for a time, he worked as a union representative in Roadstone.

Seldom does a local politician have such vast contacts as the late former Cllr. McElheron. He was an avid collector of photographs with senior politicians, business CEOs and always made sure to capture meetings on camera where possible.

Whether he was walking down Main Street in Arklow or at the St. Patrick's Day Festival in New York, he was certain to meet somebody he knew and, in the days following his death, this was recognised in the vast numbers of mourners who visited Hudson's Funeral Home and attended his funeral at Ss. Mary and Peter's Church to sympathise with the McElheron family.

Vincent McElheron is survived by his brothers, Joseph and Edward, and predeceased by his brother Patrick. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Alice, Jean and Nellie, nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives and many friends.

May he rest in peace.

Wicklow People

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