Padraic Neary’s sense of innovation, community spirit and opinions will be greatly missed in Tubbercurry

Padraic Neary.

Gerry McLaughlinSligo Champion

One of south Sligo’s best known local figures was laid to rest in Rhue Cemetery yesterday (Tuesday) after Requiem Mass in St John Evangelist Church, Tubbercurry. Padraic Neary (79) of Bansra House, Charlestown Road, Tubbercurry passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, surrounded by his loving family.

The late Padraic was very well known for his opinions on a myriad of matters. He was a playwright, a poet, who specialised in sonnets, an inveterate and interesting letter writer (his last to this newspaper appears this week) with very independent and well argued views on various aspect of life.

But he was also a learned man on machinery and specifically tool making a trade he learned in the famous Tool and Gauge Factory in Tubbercurry.

Padraic was a precision designer who went on to become works manager of the famous former Hanson factory in Sligo in the 1970s.

He then set out on his own and set up a tool making service which employed up to 15 people at a time in Finisklin and was one of the first men in Sligo to use a computer to help in business in the early 1980s.

Padraic was a real innovator and was at the cutting edge of computer technology back in the early 1980s. He continued in his manufacturing business until around 2000 when he went on a different tack altogether.

Padraic owned a few acres and bought a few more and decided to build 63 houses on the outskirts of Tubbercurry by 2010.

He also used his tool making design skills to design a few houses for people.

Remarkably, he did not take up the pen seriously until he was 58.

Padraic had four plays, including one award winning One Act production in Tubbercurrry.

By his own reckoning he has had around 700 letters published in the national and local media.

His themes were many but a recurring one is his deep and genuine concern at the way he perceives the growth of technology and over-production is enslaving many millions of people throughout the world.

Padraic was also deeply involved in his community and was chairman of a committee to restore St Brigid’s Hall in Tubbercurry in the early 1980s and was a driving force in the revival of the Old Fair Day in Tubber in the mid noughties.

Padraic was also closely involved in the blood donation service in his area for many years. And he was very closely involved with drama in Tubber and the Phoenix Players.

In a heartfelt tribute Fine Gael Councillor Martin Conolly said:

“Padraic was a real all- rounder and he was an excellent man with the pen. But he had an insight into life and into the future.

“Some people thought his predictions might never happen, but in hindsight he has been proven right when he said we will have a four- day working week and we are not far off that and how technology has taken away so much employment all over the world”.

“What he said 30 years ago has come to fruition.

“Padraic was a great community man and was very gifted in so many ways and he could draw plans for almost anything.

“He was gifted in every way, in his speech and a very understanding man and could listen to other people’s side of a story and come up with middle ground”.

Padraic is survived by his wife Loretta and daughter Marian, sons Anthony (Galway) and Philip (Galway) and extended family.