Thursday 14 November 2019

Minister pays tribute to mother 'who fought more elections than Dev'

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan carries his mother's coffin before the funeral Mass for Mai Flanagan at St Joseph's Church in Mountmellick, Co Laois. Picture: Frank McGrath
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan carries his mother's coffin before the funeral Mass for Mai Flanagan at St Joseph's Church in Mountmellick, Co Laois. Picture: Frank McGrath
Former taoiseach Brian Cowen at the funeral for Mai Flanagan
Former FG TD Olwyn Enright at the funeral for Mai Flanagan
Lucinda Creighton
John Downing

John Downing

"TO marry a politician is one thing - to give birth to one is inexcusable."

That was how Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan quoted his late mother, Mai Flanagan, during a short funeral eulogy yesterday.

Hundreds gathered to say farewell to her in the town of Mountmellick, Co Laois, which was her home for over 60 years.

Mrs Flanagan, who died at the weekend aged 93, was described as the "behind-the-scenes support" for legendary Fine Gael TD, Oliver J Flanagan, who served in Dáil Éireann for 43 years.

Her son, Charlie, who succeeded his late father in 1987, said he had counted 19 elections in which his mother played a role.

"I believe that is more than De Valera," Mr Flanagan said.

The minister had to travel overnight from Canada, where he was officiating on behalf of the Government at St Patrick's Day ceremonies. He also cancelled an engagement at today's parade in New York and arrived home in Portlaoise after 8am yesterday having travelled through the night.

Mourners included daughters Maria, Grace and Maeve, her sister Lily, brother Brendan, her daughter-in-law Mary and her seven grandchildren.

Mass concelebrants included the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr Denis Nulty. There was no interment as Mrs Flanagan had donated her remains to medical research.

Irish Independent

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