Tuesday 17 September 2019

Former Workers' Party leader Garland was 'a flesh and blood, social being', mourners at funeral told

Farewell: Councillor Eilis Ryan, wearing a red scarf, among mourners carrying the coffin of Sean Garland at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Farewell: Councillor Eilis Ryan, wearing a red scarf, among mourners carrying the coffin of Sean Garland at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Former Workers' Party president Sean Garland was not the "man of steel" he was often believed to be but a "flesh and blood, social being", mourners at his funeral heard.

A humanist ceremony was held for the former political leader at the crematorium at Glasnevin Cemetery.

Speakers included key members of the Workers' Party, including former president Marian Donnelly and chair of the Northern Committee, Gerry Grainger.

Amongst the mourners were former Fianna Fáil minister Conor Lenihan, Cllr Mannix Flynn and former Labour Party TD Joanna Tuffy. Unitarian clergyman Rev Chris Hudson, who played a key role in the peace process, told mourners that a prominent loyalist figure asked him to pass on his deepest sympathy and gratitude to Mr Garland's wife, Mary.

Mr Garland's remains were waked in West Belfast before being removed to Liberty Hall in Dublin before the funeral.

His wicker coffin was draped in both the Tricolour and the Starry Plough, with his Belfast-born widow Mary following close to the coffin, along with his daughter Caoimhe. Anne Finnegan, chair of the Workers' Party, described Mr Garland as a "secular socialist Republican", who was a "flesh and blood, social being" and who had come to realise that "removing Britain from the six counties meant nothing" - but that all people were "brothers with one hope and destiny".

Sean Garland’s wife Mary at the funeral. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Sean Garland’s wife Mary at the funeral. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Ms Finnegan said she did not believe the 1992 split of the political party had been explored in full, saying many factors had been at play, including the fall of the Soviet Union and egos within the party.

However, she said the party's decline had resulted in a "much needier country".

Sean Garland. Photo: Tom Burke
Sean Garland. Photo: Tom Burke

Irish Independent

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