Thomas Gilmartin Jr received a huge applause at St Michael’s Church in Urris, Co Donegal, as he remembered the life and times of his late father.
Almost 200 mourners gathered at the church on the Inishowen Peninsula overlooking Tullagh Bay.
Mr Gilmartin, 78, whose wife Vera is a native of the area, was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.
His son, Thomas Jr, broke with the normal tradition to read his eulogy in memory of his father at the start of Mass.
During his touching tribute, he occasionally looked towards the coffin which had two pictures on top of it, one of a young Mr Gilmartin alone and one with his wife Vera.
Thomas Jr told how his father was touched by corruption from an early age — even before he started his career.
He said: “Unfortunately my father was let down by people for whom moral scruples of the type my father lived by was seen as a weakness. Later he never wavered his commitment to the truth even when subjected to extraordinary pressure. He would never perjure himself even when it was disadvantageous for him to tell the truth such was his honestly and his religious faith.
“Dad loved his country and was a proud Irishman. It truly grieved him as the son of a man who fought for the independence of his country to see the sacrifices of his father’s generation disregarded by lesser men.
“It is a source of great sadness to us, his family, that dad was never truly given the credit he deserved for what he did or the apology he was owed for what was done to him. He deserved better.”
A native of Lislary, Co Sligo, Mr Gilmartin spent much of his working life in Luton, Bedfordshire.
His name will forever be linked to a shopping centre, originally planned for land he acquired at Quarryvale, west Dublin, which subsequently became the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, after Mr Gilmartin was squeezed out of the project.
His payments to Fianna Fáil politicians and his allegations of bribery demands from others led to him becoming a key witness at the Mahon Tribunal.
He latterly lived in Cork with his family. He died peacefully last Friday at Cork University Hospital.
As he fought back tears, Thomas Jr said he genuinely thought his father was a one-off.
“It is sometimes an exaggeration to say that we will not see someone’s like again. But in my father’s case it is true. He was a one-off,” he said.