‘Reputation beyond boundaries’

The loss of Páidí Ó Sé brought a fittingly huge response from far beyond his natural environs of Kerry and gaelic football.

Politicians of all colours offered tributes and some of the country’s leading figures from other fields paid their respects.

President Michael D Higgins captured this sentiment when he spoke about the GAA legend.

“Páidí Ó Sé had a reputation that went far beyond his great achievements in sport, and far beyond the boundaries of his own beloved county.”

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said his accomplishments and passion helped protect the future of two of the things he held dearest, football and the Irish language.

“Páidí was renowned for his love of the Irish language, and he will be a sad loss to all of us who care about the future of the native tongue.

“He had a keen interest in politics, and the hospitality he extended to politicians of all hues, who had the good fortune to include Ventry on their campaign trail, was legendary.”

Michael Ring, the junior sports minister, struck on similar sentiments when he gave credit to his involvement in so many facets of public life.

“This is a sad day for Ireland, for the GAA, for Kerry, and for Irish culture. Páidí Ó Sé was a legend in so many ways. As a footballer, as a manager, and as an exponent of Irish language and culture, Páidí had few rivals,” he said.

On numerous occasions in recent years Ó Sé was linked with an election run with Fianna Fáil and its leader Micheál Martin paid his respects.

“He was an iconic figure and he personified that spirit of competitive rivalry that is the hallmark of the GAA. Páidí was also a very warm hearted person and he made enduring friendships in sport, politics, and business,” said the Cork TD.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said “it was with shock and sadness” that he learned of “the untimely death of Páidí Ó Sé at his home in Ceann Trá”.

Mr Ó Sé had also been appointed as a director of Bord Iascaigh Mhara and a statement from the company said his understanding of fishing communities had helped improve its work.

Another to pass on words of comfort was athletics hero Sonia O’Sullivan.

“Saddened to hear the great loss of Páidí Ó Sé, after meeting Páidí recently in his home town, he was full of ideas and energy.”

Fellow Kerryman and retired broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh also paid tribute on RTÉ radio.


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