Saturday 21 September 2019

'His courage leaves all of us more humble' - tributes paid after death of Fr Tony Coote

Fr Tony Coote who walked the length of Ireland
Fr Tony Coote who walked the length of Ireland
Fr Tony Coote

Gabija Gataveckaite

Tributes have poured in following the death of a well-known Dublin priest who died after a battle with motor neurone disease.

Fr Tony Coote (55) died on Wednesday and served as an administrator in the Mount Merrion Parish in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. 

Since his diagnosis in March last year, he was an advocate for the illness and raised over €600,000 for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA).

He also travelled 550 kilometres from Donegal to Cork last year to raise money for the motor neurone disease research and this was a “testament to his resilience and determination”.

Fr Tony Coote
Fr Tony Coote

“From the moment he was diagnosed, Father Tony Coote not only bore his illness with tremendous dignity, he also became a tireless advocate for everyone living with MND,” said Roisin Duffy, the CEO of the IMNDA.

"The €600,000 he raised is already making a real impact on Ireland’s motor neurone disease community,” she added.

“On September 14 next, that community will again “Walk While You Can” in Fr Tony’s memory as he would have wanted. To Fr Tony’s family and wide circle of friends, we at the IMNDA offer our deepest sympathies at this difficult time. 

“We pledge to honour his memory and continue to support his vision for a world free of motor neurone disease,” Ms Duffy added.

Minister Josepha Madigan also paid her respects on social media. 

“So devastated to hear this,” she wrote on Twitter last night. 

“Not only was he an amazing, incredible man but a priest too. And a friend. A true beacon of light and inspiration, he turned a negative into a positive like only he could,” she said. 

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock added that Fr Coote was “a very fine man”.

“What an inspirational man who put things in perspective for many of us,” Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy wrote on social media this morning. 

The Diocese of Dublin paid a heartwarming tribute to Fr Coote and his family yesterday. 

 “Tony showed all of us how strength can be witnessed even in the face of human weakness,” said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin last night.  

“His courage and determination touched the hearts of people of all backgrounds. His courage leaves all of us more humble. May the Lord welcome and give him the deep peace to which he witnessed in his suffering,” he added.

He was also a chaplain at Oatlands College, a secondary all-boys school in Mount Merrion, who issued a tribute to their "esteemed" colleague and encouraged the public to keep him in their thoughts.

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