'A life well lived' - Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney lead mourners at former minister Donal Creed's funeral
TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar led Government tributes to veteran former Fine Gael TD, minister and MEP Donal Creed (93) who was hailed as the mastermind of the National Lottery concept.
Mr Varadkar was joined by Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and dozens of current and former politicians at the Cork funeral of Mr Creed who is the father of Agriculture Minister Michael Creed TD.
The father of eight died last Thursday after a short illness.
His passed away exactly seven weeks after the death of his eldest daughter, Claire, and just 24 hours after the 61st anniversary of his wedding to his beloved wife, Madeleine.
Hundreds attended his Requiem Mass at St Colman's Church in his native Macroom.
Mr Creed's daughter, Marcella, paid a moving tribute to her father who, she said, had "a life well lived."
She said her father was always, at heart, a farmer who loved both the land and nature but who also took enormous pride in being elected by the people of Cork North West to represent them in the Dail from 1965-1989.
In his 90s, when he was too old for farm work, he would still tend to his garden and orchard.
"Since her (Claire's) passing, Dad was reconciled to death and eager to join her," she said.
"Dad was graced with a long and very full life.
"He was so very proud to serve this area as a public representative.
"There were challenges - lots of ups and downs. But there were some significant achievements too.
"He enjoyed his year as chairman of Cork Co Council. He was proud to initiate the setting up of the National Lottery against some stiff opposition at the time.
"But most of all he was proudest at being continually endorsed by the people of this constituency in all the elections in which he stood."
In retirement, she said he loved farming and was very proud of the potatoes he grew on his farm.
"Farming was always his first love," she said.
Monsignor James O'Donnell told mourners, to laughter, how one constituent called to Mr Creed's home on Christmas Day to get a problem resolved - and then admitted as he left the TD's home that he would never have imposed on the local doctor on such a day.
The Offertory Gifts reflected Mr Creed's life and interests including a walking stick, a family photograph, a newspaper and a Dail service certificate.
Over his career, Mr Creed served as a councillor, TD, minister, MEP and as chairman of the Fine Gael Party.
Mr Creed is survived by his wife, Madeleine, and children Marcella, Michelle, Michael, Madeleine, Suzanne and Louise.
He is also survived by his sister, Eileen, 25 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
President Michael D Higgins was represented at the funeral by his aide-de-camp.
The Government was represented by Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney as well as by Ministers David Stanton and Andy Doyle.
Also in attendance were current and former TDs and senators including Billy Kelleher, Jerry Buttimer, Dan Neville, Bernard Allen, Tim Lombard, Alan Dukes, Jim O'Keeffe, Paul Bradford, Tom Hayes and Avril Doyle.
Mr Creed was first elected to the Dáil for the old Cork Mid West constituency in 1965.
He held a seat there until 1981 when boundary changes saw the constituency redrawn as Cork North West.
Mr Creed served as Junior Minister at the Department of the Environment from November 1981 to March 1982.
He also served as a Junior Minister in the Department of Education and Department of Health between 1981 and 1986.
Mr Creed served in the European Parliament on Ireland's accession to the then-European Community from 1973-1977.
He went on to become chairman of the Fine Gael Party in 1987.
Mr Creed was renowned for his attention to constituency duties and his son, Michael, was comfortably elected to his old seat when he retired at the 1989 General Election.
Friends said one of his proudest moments was when his son Michael was elevated to full Cabinet level when he was appointed to the Department of Agriculture last year by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.