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Mum always backed me, even in jail – Joe

DUBLIN West TD Joe Higgins said that his late mother was often dubious about some of his socialist ideas but always remained a supporter.

Speaking at the funeral of his mother, Nell, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 95, the Socialist Party politician said that she was a believer in his ability.

However, the TD referred to an "incident" 10 years ago when he was "in some trouble with the establishment".


He said that his mother implored him to "relent a little and not to be too extreme" – he was referring to his protest during the anti-bin charges campaign for which he was jailed for one month.

The politician drew laughter from the congregation when he recalled her reaction when he phoned her to tell her of his fate.

"I rang with some trepidation, I have to say, but I really needn't have worried. 'What harm boyeen, sure I'll be up next week to visit you', and she did," he recalled.

Mourners at St Mary's Church, Dingle, also included his brother Tom, sisters Mary, Nora, Terry and Helen, 22 of her 23 grandchildren and her extended family.

Mr Higgins described her as a "remarkable" woman who took a huge interest in life, worked incredibly hard on the family farm and with great sacrifice had committed to rearing and educating all her children.

The loss of three of her children Denis Og and Brid (Slattery) and Liam were bitter blows, but with characteristic stoicism she had accepted it and moved on. He said she was hugely devoted to her faith and the Catholic Church but she put people and family before institutions.

Paying tribute to the people who looked after his mother as her age advanced, he said they were the "essence of humanity".

"I just can't resist saying that if the kindness, generosity and humanity of those I saw (in West Kerry Community Hospital) had informed the countless institutions in this country over the past two decades, rather than the selfishness and the greed of a few, how comparably different and better our country would be today," he said to spontaneous applause from the congregation.