independent

Friday 23 August 2019

Tommy Byrne was a Drogheda man through and through

Former Cllr Frank Godfrey, with the late Cllr Tommy Byrne, Carmel Hancock coordinator SOSAD, Former Mayor Pio Smith, the late Cllr Oliver Tully and Fr Colm O'Mahony
Former Cllr Frank Godfrey, with the late Cllr Tommy Byrne, Carmel Hancock coordinator SOSAD, Former Mayor Pio Smith, the late Cllr Oliver Tully and Fr Colm O'Mahony

Fiona Magennis

Born just around the corner from the Church where he took his final leave of his beloved town, Tommy Byrne was a Drogheda man through and through.

One of ten children, Tommy was raised in Mary Street by his Meath mother and his Dad, who was originally from County Mayo but moved to the Boyneside town as a member of An Garda Siochana.

His paternal roots in Mayo meant that Knock always had a special place in Tommy's heart and he and Kathleen visited the area every year.

Tommy's class in primary school was the last to attend the Old Hill school at the back of St Mary's Church and he went on to secondary school in St Joseph's CBS.

He worked in various factories on the Marsh Road, eventually taking up a role with Irish Life before going out on his own as an auctioneer and valuer in 1973, first on the North Road and more recently in Southgate.

Tommy sold many homes to people in the community during more than 40 years in business and did so with a personal touch, taking great pride in his work, Fr Phil Gaffney said at his funeral Mass in St Mary's on Friday.

The Byrne auctioneering tradition continues as son Brendan followed in his father's footsteps, joining him in the family business.

Tommy was a great athlete in his youth, excelling in both soccer and GAA.

He played for Drogheda United in the 1960s, going on to become their player/manager and he played with many local GAA clubs over the years including Naomh Mhuire, Wolfe Tones and the O'Raghallaigh's.

His popularity in soccer circles was reflected in a minute's silence held in memory of Tommy at the Limerick v Drogheda Utd match, last Friday evening.

The local businessman ventured into politics in the early 1990s after the ombudsman backed him in a case for first times buyers back and he was first elected in 1994 and remained in politics until recent months, resigning from his role on the council last last year.

His two sons have followed him into the political arena, Thomas Junior as a TD in Dail Eireann and James as a councillor in Drogheda.

Tommy's death came just a week after that of Oliver Tully - another beloved local figure and his colleague on Drogheda Borough Council for many years - and the loss of both men has been a huge blow to the town.

Drogheda Independent

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