Former FF senator Des Hanafin to be laid to rest

The funeral Mass for former Fianna Fáil senator Des Hanafin will take place tomorrow in Thurles.

Mr Hanafin died on Thursday aged 86. He is survived by his wife Mona, daughter and former Fianna Fáil minister Mary, and his son John, also a former Fianna Fáil senator.

Mr Hanafin was born on September 9, 1930, in Thurles, Co Tipperary. In 1955 he was elected to North Tipperary County Council and subsequently served as chairman of the Council.

He was elected to the Seanad in 1965 and retained that seat until 1993, when he lost it by one vote.

Mr Hanafin regained the seat in 1997 and finally retired from politics in 2002. He was unsuccessful in two Dáil elections for Tipperary North in 1977 and 1981.

On his election to the Seanad, then Taoiseach Jack Lynch put him in charge of party fundraising and in control of party accounts.

This position put Mr Hanafin into conflict with Charles J Haughey who, when he won the party leadership, wanted Mr Hanafin removed from his position.

In an era where most toed the line, Mr Hanafin resisted the change and insisted he would only hand over control once an audit on the accounts was done.

Outspoken and combative, the deeply conservative Mr Hanafin was a leading advocate for the 1983 Eighth Amendent and he also opposed the divorce referendum in 1995 and mounted an unsuccessful challenge in the Supreme Court to overturn it.

Despite retiring from active politics in 2002, he continued to support efforts to retain the Eighth Amendment and pledged to support that campaign. He also opposed the marriage equality referendum in 2015.

Mr Hanafin spoke in his later years about how alcohol almost destroyed his political career, as well as his business interests.

Leading tributes to Mr Hanafin, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin expressed his sadness at Mr Hanafin’s death. He said: “Des was a man steeped in politics and community.”

He added that “seeing both his children achieve high office was a source of great pride to him”.

Mr Hanafin’s remains will repose at Hugh Ryans’ Funeral Home, Slievenamon Rd, Thurles later today from 5pm to 8pm before arriving at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles at 8.30pm.

His requiem Mass will take place tomorrow at 12pm with burial afterwards in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Thurles.


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