Martin pays heartfelt tribute to his 'devoted mother'
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Micheal Martin yesterday led tributes to "a wonderful woman, a great mother, a devoted wife, a true Cork hurling fan" as he laid his mother to rest.
Eileen Martin (82) died after a short illness last Friday, and her Requiem Mass was held in the Cork church where she had married and had seen her children baptised.
She was a "Turner's Cross woman to the backbone", said Mr Martin, and a staunch Irish republican.
He said his mother had warned him last year that their relatives would "turn in their graves" if they knew that he -- as Foreign Affairs Minister -- had been offered the use of the Queen's Room in Edinburgh Castle during crucial talks with the British government on the Northern peace process.
"Born and reared in this (Cork) parish she lived all her life here. She was a great mother and our memories of the early to late 1960s -- even though people did not have that much -- are so happy and priceless to us," he told the congregation.
Mr Martin joked that his mother was such an incredible cook that, to this day, he cannot eat a custard slice because no one could ever make them as well as his mother.
"Come November, she was already preparing for Christmas -- it was pure magic," he added.
Mrs Martin, known to her friends and family as 'Lana', is survived by her husband, Paddy, a former Irish boxing champion, and her five children.
Two of Mrs Martin's children -- Micheal and Sean -- served terms as Lord Mayor of Cork.
Sean remains a member of Cork City Council while Micheal, who was first elected as a Fianna Fail TD in 1989, is a TD for Cork South Central.
He has been a cabinet minister since Fianna Fail returned to power under former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 1997. Mrs Martin is also survived by her 15 grandchildren -- six of whom brought offertory gifts yesterday, including a family photo album of their grandmother, a bottle of holy water, and a bunch of spring flowers reminiscent of west Cork, where Mrs Martin loved to spend her holidays.
Among the mourners at the funeral were cabinet members including Health Minister Mary Harney, and Community Affairs Minister Pat Carey.
Following Requiem Mass, Mrs Martin was buried at St James's Cemetery in Chetwynd, Cork.