President Michael D Higgins among those to pay respects at funeral of barrister Noel Whelan
President Michael D Higgins was among those who paid their respects to barrister, campaigner, writer and political advisor Noel Whelan at his funeral mass in Dublin today.
Mr Whelan’s wife Sinead McSweeney said she and the couple’s young son Séamus will remember Mr Whelan as a man filled with love and a passion for fairness and justice.
As Ms McSweeney reflected on her husband’s sense of fun she said he would have looked down the church and joked “that’s some guest list”, because of the crowds who came to pay their final respects to him.
“Séamus and I have never doubted the depth and strength of Noel’s love for us,” Ms McSweeney told the congregation at the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh, South Dublin today.
“It is an immense source of strength and honour for us to see such a clear demonstration of the breath and depth of the impact of the lives he touched and friendships he made along the way,” she added.
“At the end of the day a good life is one where we make true friends, we impact the lives of other for better, we love fearlessly and are loved back in equal measure.
“We have a treasure trove of memories and stories that will sustain us in the future.”
Mr Whelan died last Wednesday, aged 50, after a short illness.
He was heavily involved in politics and campaigned in the recent referendums on marriage equality and Eighth Amendment. He was a former advisor to Fianna Fáil and practiced as a barrister for 19 years before becoming a senior counsel last year.
Among those who paid their respects today were Ministers Katherine Zappone and Josepha Madigan, Attorney General Seamus Woulfe, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and broadcasters Anne Doyle, Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullagh.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was represented by his aide-de-camp.
Chief celebrant Fr Derek Smyth remembered meeting Mr Whelan in college, and spoke of his passion for volunteerism and helping others.
“Noel’s whole life was about crossing over and helping other parts of our lives and society,” he said.
Mr Whelan will be buried later today Ballycullane Cemetery, New Ross, in his native Co Wexford.