'Proud' mother of Taoiseach laid to rest

Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mother Eithne died proud knowing her son had reached the pinnacle of political life, her funeral has been told.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mother Eithne died proud knowing her son had reached the pinnacle of political life, her funeral has been told.

The 93-year-old was laid to rest in Islandeady cemetery just outside Castlebar following Mass in the Church of the Holy Rosary.

Pat Donnellan, parish priest in Islandeady, said Mrs Kenny felt great pride in her son.

“When each election came around I heard her say she ’threw the tongs out the door after them for good luck’, and I know it was then that she stormed the heavens and prayed that all would be well,” Fr Donnellan said.

“Her modest nature did not allow her to boast, but I know she was as proud as punch that God blessed her with a son, who is Taoiseach of our country.”

Mrs Kenny died in hospital on Saturday surrounded by her family. She is survived by the Taoiseach and his brothers John, Henry and Kieran and sister Marie.

Originally from Glencolmcille, west Donegal, Mrs Kenny was a home economics teacher and worked as political secretary for 25 years to the Taoiseach’s father Henry during his time in the Dáil.

The Taoiseach paid tribute to his mother, who had been involved in political life for 60 years.

“We have had an enormous privilege with the longevity of her life but I suppose few have had the privilege themselves, and what privilege it is, of serving in the political field from 1954 until last week,” he told the congregation.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, former president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin and former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and John Bruton were among dignitaries at the funeral, alongside retired professional cyclist Sean Kelly and a number of ministers including James Reilly, Joan Burton and Leo Varadkar.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson and British Ambassador to Ireland Julian King also attended the Mass.

Fr Donnellan said: “Like all good mothers, Eithne Kenny loved all her children equally, and her grandchildren and extended family.

“She stood for good old-fashioned family values, like faith, loyalty, love. And that sense of loss that is in the tears of her children and grandchildren, is testimony to the love and care that she blessed you with.”

The British-Irish Council Summit, which was due to take place in Dublin Castle, was postponed as a mark of respect with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg cancelling his first official visit.

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