More than 200 people attended a function in the Salthill Hotel last Friday hosted by Galway City Fianna Fail to celebrate 40 years of service to Fianna Fail by former minister and TD Frank Fahey, when guest speaker on the night was former Taoiseach and party leader, Brian Cowen.
On the sudden death of his father Cllr Paddy Fahey in November 1971, Frank was co-opted to Galway County Council but was unable to take the seat until June 1972 as, in those days, one had to be 21 to sit as a councillor. In the interim his late mother Sally filled the role and in June 1972, Frank became the youngest councillor in the country, thus commencing the long road of active politic life. He was first elected to Dail Eireann in February 1982.
There was much reminiscence and joviality in all of the speeches and none more so than in Brian Cowen’s address to an audience of cross party supporters which included; Eamon O Cuiv, Noel Grealish Anne Rabbitte former Councillor John Mulholland and former Senator Lorraine Higgins, former minister Batt O’Keefe and his wife Mary came from Cork to pay tribute as did former MEP, Mark Killilea.
Also present were representatives from the business and community groups from the city and county. Also present were Eamon Gilligan, Chairman of Galway East Fianna Fail CDC, former minister and now Chairman of Galway Board GAA, Noel Treacy, and his wife Mary as well as a number of county councillors and former mayors.
Brian Cowen in his address said that Frank was not only a political friend but also a close family friend, and that one of his outstanding attributes was his loyalty. He said Frank was very much the community activist and that when he got his teeth into a project, he never let go. He spoke of the friendly rivalry between the candidates, especially Mark Killilea in the early days and more latterly Eamon O’ Cuiv , just to mention a few.
In his reply, an emotional Frank said he was shocked at what was such a huge surprise dinner, capped by the fact that his daughter Louise arrived from Boston that morning unannounced, as did his son Brian and his wife Gillian who came from London. His other son Darren, who was in Canada, was unable to travel but sent his best wishes.
He said his successful life in politics was due to the help he got from his wife Ethelle, his extended family, who were present in numbers, as well as his supporters and those who voted for him. Mr Fahy paid tribute to all his political friends and colleagues from all parties who worked with him, not alone for the good of the Country and City of Galway but nationally as well.
He reminisced about the competitive nature of constituency politics, and spoke of his delight at the great result for Fianna Fail in the recent general election which he said bodes well for the future of the party and encouraged more people to be active. He thanked Val Hanley, Chairman of Galway City Comhairle Ceantair Fianna Fail and his committee for organising the function and the hotel for the wonderful food. Finally he thanked Councillor Peter Keane who performed Master of Ceremonies to perfection.
Frank and Ethelle were presented with crystal and flowers by Brian Cowen on behalf of the Galway City Comhairle Ceantair.