Tributes have been paid to former Athlone councillor, Kieran Molloy, who passed away following an illness in the care of staff at the South Westmeath Hospice.
Kieran, of The Courtyard, The Quays, and formerly Connolly Street, Athlone, was a Fianna Fáil representative on Athlone Town Council from 1987 to 2014, and also served on Westmeath County Council from 1991 to 2009.
During his period as an elected public representative he worked diligently and earnestly for the community in which he resided and his contributions to developments within Athlone during his term of office and beyond is noticeable as the town continues to progressively evolve.
Speaking this week, Athlone Mayor, Cllr Aengus O'Rourke, stated that Kieran was a "close friend" and "mentor" who was a source of "much advice" in the initial years of his political career.
"I will never forget, and will always be grateful for his generosity to me and support for me. In 2009 I decided for the first time to put my name forward for the Athlone Town Council. I was adamant to start at the first rung of the ladder and work my way up if I liked it and if possible.
"On my election that May in 2009 I entered the Council Chamber in Athlone for the first time, for my first meeting - it was unfamiliar territory for me so I was a little apprehensive. However, Kieran soon put me at ease, he met me at the door and explained all the procedures and nuances to me and said, you sit beside me and we'll be fine.
"I had the pleasure of sitting beside Kieran for that meeting and for every meeting that followed for the next five years. I learned so much from him during that time, I was lucky to have one as experienced and informed as Kieran on which to lean. We had many things in common so we got on very well.
"Kieran didn't put up with nonsense and neither do I, so we were always on the same wave-length which was great. Kieran demanded straight answers from the council officials, and would often say, 'I've to explain this to the people so give me a straight answer, I'm entitled to a straight answer'.
"Invariably, he didn't just get a straight answer, but more importantly he got the answer for which he was looking. He was respected by his peers across the political divide. He was respected by the staff in the council because he had great respect for them too, you could say he was a friend to us all.
"I'll miss Kieran, and so too will the people he served, and achieved so much for during his time as a public representative. Anne, his daughters and grandchildren will miss Kieran so much and they have my deepest condolences and prayers at this time," Cllr O'Rourke asserted.
Echoing similar sentiments, Cathaoirleach, Westmeath County Council, Cllr Frankie Keena, stated that it had been his "honour" to serve the public alongside Kieran.
"It was with great sadness that I learned of Kieran's passing. A very close friend, I had the honour of serving with Kieran on Athlone UDC, Athlone Town Council and Westmeath County Council where I always found him to be fair, supportive and an extremely hard worker. His love to serve as a public representative was so evident throughout his entire life.
"Kieran had a vast knowledge of the workings of the Council where he always lobbied strongly on behalf of his constituents. His main priorities in life were his wife Anne and family, Fianna Fáil and his electorate.
"Kieran's funeral mass was reflective of the esteem in which he was held in the local community and beyond with representatives from a wealth of organisations in attendance to pay their respects to Kieran.
"I would like to express my deepest sympathies to his wife Anne, daughters Siobhan, Fiona, Ciara and the extended family on his sad passing. May Kieran rest in peace," Cllr Keena concluded.
Kieran was laid to rest in Kiltoom cemetery following requiem mass in Ss Peter and Paul's church on Thursday morning last.
The staff of the Athlone Advertiser afford their sympathies to his wife Anne, Siobhan, Fiona, Ciara and extended family members. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.