Associate professor of law at Dublin City University and civil rights campaigner, Dr Vicky Conway, has been described as the “dynamo of change that she wanted to see every day”.
During a civil service at Temple Hill Funeral Home, Boreenmanna Road, Co Cork, today, Dr Conway was remembered as a “really loyal friend, a beautiful and loved daughter, a sister and an aunty”.
Dr Conway was a former member of the Policing Authority and the Commission on the Future of Policing.
She was also host of the Policed in Ireland podcast which was highly critical of some garda behaviour.
She was a member of the Lawyers for Choice group which advocated for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment banning abortion, and hosted members of many marginalised groups on her podcast.
Her brother Bryan said Vicky did more in “42 years than most people would do in 10 lifetimes if given the chance”.
“Her sense of social justice was too strong to hold back. She was quite strong and stubborn for those of you that know her,” he said.
“She had a great need to fight for those that were marginalised by inequality and that is something you couldn’t help but respect and be proud of.
“But there was another side to Vicky, the side that saw beauty in absolutely everything.
“In nature, particularly beaches, she captured the beauty with her fabulous eye for photography. She was incredibly creative and was knitting way before any celebrities made it cool.
“She loved to read, one of the many traits she got from mum and dad and averaged about 52 books a year.”
He said most of all she loved being an aunty and she loved being godmother to Cara and Julie.
"But particularly over the last seven years, she’s been back in Dublin spending so much time with her niece and three nephews creating such a special bond, always laughing, always hugging.
“Of course, then there was the love of her life, Fionn, for the last 12 months. The only dog that I know that has had a full-on birthday party.
“To all her friends, colleagues and campaigners, don’t let Vicky’s light go out. Please continue her work and see this as a passing of the baton and please move to take the next step in everything she did.
“If in doubt, ask yourself ‘what would Vicky do’, Slán go fóill mo dheirfiúr.”
Vicky’s brother Dermot described his sister as a “sincere and down-to-earth intellect” and a “comet that was extinguished far too early”.
“She was almost a sister to the wider community, and I think that was her gift. Vicky was a source of intense energy and purpose,” he said.
“It will always be a source of deep pain and anguish that she has left us prematurely and there were two sides to Vicky although she seemed to weave them together. There was the professional Vicky and the personal Vicky.
“Professionally I think she could be encapsulated as someone who achieved so much in so short a term. Those achievements are remarkable, each one a career in itself, a lecturer, an academic, a teacher and a social advocate.
“It is heartbreaking to me that Vicky did not see the regard with which she was held, it is my hope that she understood the esteem, the respect, the adoration and the love with which she was clearly held in.
“What Vicky has achieved in my eyes is inspiring. And secondly, there was Vicky the person, she always made me pause, always made me think.
“Vicky always challenged you and was always interested in what response came back. She wanted an engagement.
“Finally, I would like to say and observe that Vicky was a sincere and down-to-earth intellect, we are so proud of all that she accomplished even if it was in such a short time.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I will say goodbye to my sister and for the last time tell her I love her.”
Her sister Susan thanked the public for the “thousands of messages and the outpouring of love” over the last few days.
“Vicky was a champion of many causes but most importantly she was a champion of people, she was every single person’s biggest cheerleader. To her, the law was as it should be, about people,” she said.
“She moved to Donegal in lockdown, it was a surprising solitude move for someone so vibrant, but she thrived there, and she had plans to make it her home in years to come.”
Her brother Craig added that Vicky “consistently made really tough decisions that aligned with her values no matter the consequences”.
“She really did have incredibly strong values, and these were shaped through all the experiences that she had and actively sought out,” he said.
“She left classrooms inspired and represented all the minorities that have been very vocal in the last number of days. She was a fiercely proud friend and colleague and not least the impact she had on her brothers, sisters, parents and ‘niblings’.
“Ireland and all of us here have lost not just a brave and really courageous defender of the underrepresented but we’ve also lost someone who just cared so deeply and made all of our lives better by making those tough decisions.”