Former Taoisigh among mourners at burial of PJ Mara
FORMER Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were amongst mourners who gathered for a final farewell as the body of PJ Mara was laid to rest, alongside his late wife, Breda, in a quiet country churchyard.
A large circle of close friends and loved ones made the journey to Mount Cross cemetery in Kinvara, Co Galway amid steadily drenching rain.
The coffin was draped in a tricolour which was then removed and folded in strict observance of protocol before being presented to Mr Mara’s son, John.
The Taoiseach was represented by his ADC, Comdt Kieran Carey.
Amongst those also present were General Secretary of Fianna Fail, Sean Dorgan, businessman Denis O’Brien, former EU Commissioner and Finance Minister Ray McSharry, former Minister Ned O’Keeffe, former FF Senator Martin Mackin, former FF TD Brendan Daly, former Fianna Fail election agent Chris Wall and Mark Killilea – former MEP.
Sean O’Rourke and David Davin-Power of RTE were in attendance, as was economist Colm McCarthy and John McNamara, Director of the Galway University Foundation – to which Mr Mara had given invaluable advice about fundraising and profile.
Raglan Road and Lord Lovett’s Lament was played by a lone piper as Mr Mara was laid to rest in the rocky Galway soil, with sweeping Burren views.
There was an emotional round of applause as Michael Brogan – Mr Mara’s brother-in-law - sang The Tide Full In by local poet and songwriter, Francis Fahy, whose best known work is The Auld Plaid Shawl.
Fr Frank Larkin of St Joseph’s in Galway and formerly of Kinvara parish said the people of Kinvara had known PJ Mara well “and enjoyed his company so much.”
He said he would be laid to rest with his wife, Breda, and commented on the headstone which Mr Mara had personally commissioned – a granite slab with a flight of doves depicted in bronze, rising up towards the skies – made by well-known Galway sculptor John Coll.
Afterwards, mourners gathered for one last party at Mr Mara’s house down at the quay in Kinvara, overlooking Dunguaire Castle.