Hundreds turn out to pay respects to former FG Minister Austin Deasy
FORMER Agriculture Minister Austin Deasy (80) was hailed as a dedicated politician who was "a yes or no" type of man throughout his public service career.
Tributes were paid to Mr Deasy, who died last Saturday after a brief illness, as hundreds attended his Requiem Mass in his native Dungarvan in west Waterford.
Mr Deasy served as a Waterford TD for 25 years before retiring in 2002 when his Dáil berth was successfully defended for Fine Gael by his son, John.
The Requiem Mass was celebrated by the former Minister's older brother, Fr Billy Deasy, alongside 16 other priests.
He told the congregation, to laughter, that he had never voted for his younger brother in any of the general elections he contested since 1969.
"I am Austin's older brother. I never voted for Austin Deasy - but I was never in Ireland for an election. My Augustinian superiors had me scattered across the world for many years," he said.
"Austin led two lives - one was his family life and the other was politics. Today is a celebration of his life."
"He was just a yes or no man. But he did listen and he did do as his political run shows us."
The mourners at St Mary's Parish Church were led by Mr Deasy's wife, Kathleen, sons John and Jamie, daughters, Sally and Jane, his five grandchildren and siblings Fr Billy, Pat, Joe and June.
Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar described Mr Deasy as "well loved and highly respected" and said he proudly recalled his first meeting with the former Cabinet minister when he addressed Young Fine Gael members in Trinity College Dublin.
Mr Varadkar led a strong Cabinet contingent at the Dungarvan funeral which included Ministers Simon Coveney, Frances Fitzgerald, Richard Bruton, Simon Harris and Paul Kehoe.
Other ministers present included Eoghan Murphy TD, Andrew Doyle TD, Damien English TD and John Halligan TD.
Others present included former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes, former Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Mary Butler TD, Senator Paudie Coffey, Senator Tim Lombard, Michael Darcy TD, Jim Daly TD, Martin Heydon TD, Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran, former IFA leader and Fine Gael MEP Alan Gillis, John Paul Phelan TD, Pat Deering TD, Garda Supt Mick Leacy, Dungarvan businessman Paul Flynn and horse trainer Pat Flynn.
Also present were former Waterford TDs Brian O'Shea and Brendan Kenneally as well as former Fine Gael ministers and TDs Paddy Cooney, Louis Belton and Tom Hayes.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins were represented by their aides de camp, Cmdt Stephen Molumphy and Captain Eoin Rochford.
Austin Deasy, formerly a secondary school teacher, was first elected to the Dáil in Waterford in 1977 having previously contested the 1969 and 1973 General Elections.
He quickly established himself as a key voice for rural Ireland in Dr Garret Fitzgerald's Fine Gael.
He was appointed Minister for Agriuculture in 1982 and served in the portfolio until Fine Gael lost the 1987 General Election.
Mr Deasy also served on Waterford Co Council from 1967 to 1983, being elected chairman in 1980.
Mr Deasy lay in repose at Kiely's funeral home in his native Dungarvan before being removed to St Mary's Parish Church for 1.30pm Requiem Mass.
He was later buried in the adjoining cemetery.