Pope Francis pays tribute to former TD Peter Mathews
Pope Francis’s emissary in Ireland, the Papal Nuncio, today paid a special tribute to former TD, Peter Mathews on behalf of the Pontiff.
Delivering a commendation at the funeral of the former Fine Gael TD for Dublin South, Archbishop Charles Brown, said he had been authorised by Pope Francis to salute Peter Mathews’s memory.
Dr Brown said Mr Mathews was “an outstanding citizen and a great patriot who possessed a radiant faith”.
A large group of former political colleagues – including Taoiseach Enda Kenny - attended the funeral service. The attendance was dominated by Fine Gael colleagues and included party general secretary Tom Curran.
But there was a wide representation from all the other parties and Independent groupings, and other elements of public life. President Michael D Higgins was represented by his aide de camp, Colonel Michael Kiernan.
The Papal Nuncio was among 10 priests who concelebrated mass in Donnybrook, Dublin, for the 65-year-old controversial former TD who died earlier this week after a brave 13-month battle with cancer. He had served as a TD from 2011-2016 but failed to get re-elected last year.
His three sons, James, John and David, paid moving tributes to their father stressing the noble way he bore the battle against his disease. There were also tributes to his wife, Susan, daughter Maria, extended family and many friends.
Among the attendance were politicians who joined Peter Mathews in 2013 in exiting Fine Gael in a row over the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill. These included Lucinda Creighton; her husband Paul Bradford; Billy Timmins; and Fidelma Healy Eames.