End of an era as political giant Killilea passes away

Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher describes Mark Killilea as 'a man of the people, a great public representative and a proud Galway man'

Mark Killilea in the European Parliament in 1987.

Mark Killilea in the European Parliament in 1987.

Hundreds are expected to turn out in Belclare this morning [Thursday January 3] for the funeral of former MEP, TD, and senator, Mark Killilea, who passed away this week aged 79.

Tributes have been paid all week in Brussels and Ireland to the politician who represented the west for more than three decades. Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Mr Killilea's death. “Mark was a committed public representative who had a long and distinguished career in national and European politics," he said. "He never forgot where he came from and Galway was never far from his thoughts. On my own personal behalf and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil organisation I want to extend my deepest condolences to Mark’s wife Ann and their family."

Fianna Fáil's Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, who was a colleague of Mr Killilea's in both the Dáíl and European Parliament, also paid tribute, describing him as "a man of the people, a great public representative and a proud Galway man".

In 1987, after a long career in local and national politics during which he served as a senator and a TD, Mr Killilea was appointed as Ray McSharry's replacement in the Connacht–Ulster constituency. He held the seat at the 1989 and 1994 European Parliament elections and was elected as Quaestor by his fellow MEPs in 1996. He retired from politics at the 1999 European Parliament election.

Large crowds attended the reposing at his home last evening. His remains will be removed to Sacred Heart Church, Belclare, this morning (Thursday ) for Requiem Mass at 12 noon. He will be buried afterwards in Claretuam Cemetery.

Mark Killilea is survived by his wife Anne and sons and daughters Eidín, Niamh, Deirbrin, Niall, Donagh, Medbh and Eimhín. He was predeceased by his son Mark.

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