Graveside Oration delivered at the Funeral of Martin Lynch by Senator Jarlath McDonagh on 3rd Jan. 1997.
“It’s lonely round the Fields of Athenry” to-day, as the old historic town and it’s hinterland has lost one of it’s finest sons. We are all shocked by the untimely death of Martin, and if ever a hackneyed cliché was relevant, it must be to-day. Yes often times the good die young!
His family whom he loved so dearly, can take some consolation when they look back on his enormous contribution as a community worker and public representative. During his six year term on Galway Co. Council in the eighties, Martin fought continuously and vehemently for better facilities in the town he loved so well, Athenry. A meeting never passed without Athenry being mentioned during Martin’s tenure on the Council.
Since 1991, he had served with distinction on Co. Galway VEC, where he continued to promote the cause of Athenry Vocational School. His own children attend this school he passionately believed in. He also served with distinction on the East Galway Adult Education Board and on the boards of Dunmore and Portumna Community Schools. In recent times he was honoured by the Minister for Justice, who appointed him to the Board of Shanagaragh House.
Martin believed in people, he loved people, he loved to help people, regardless of creed or political views. He was always available, most amenable, approachable and eager to help. He was known and respected throughout the length and breath of Ireland. It is a fitting tribute that the Irish Government should be represented at his funeral by the Taoiseach’s Aide De Camp. Capt. Maurice McQuillen and Government Minister Donal Carey and Chief Whip, Jim Higgins, alongside a host of other Public Representatives.
But Martin was a humble man, and he always felt most at home with his own people, in his own town of Athenry. A well known Irish writer defined the happiness enshrined in a smile:
“It is only a smile and little it costs in giving,
but it scatters the night like moving light,
and makes the day worth living”.
Martin had that smile – and he created a lot of light and brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people in his short lifetime. And now, inside, we can all feel a certain confidence that, when our moment of truth arrives, be it sooner or later, we will have a friend in court – Somebody endowed with the art of making representation, somebody willing and able to make a case on our behalves, a friend to steer us through the golden gate.
In the meantime, we express our deepest sympathy to Mandy, Marty, Aoife and Alan, brothers Joe and Séamus, sisters Mary and Eileen and extended family.
Athenry has lost one of it’s finest sons but we all have gained a friend in Heaven.
“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dhilis”.
Written by Jarlath McDonagh
Published here 09 Feb 2021
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