Westport came to a standstill on Monday to pay tribute to the late Martin Keane who was laid to rest following his funeral mass in St Mary's Church.
The 71-year-old was a former town councillor and well known fundraiser for a number of sporting organisations and other charitable concerns in the town.
Cathaoirleach of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District and former town council colleague Cllr Brendan Mulroy gave the eulogy for Martin before the funeral, outlining the massive contribution that Martin made to the town of Westport and its hinterland and how he touched the lives of so many people in the community of Westport.
Later that afternoon, Cllr Mulroy chaired a meeting of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District where fond tributes were paid to him by other councillors.
Cllr Peter Flynn said of his former colleague: "We talk about individuals who have contributed to our community in various forms and manners, but Cllr Keane was special, and I still call him Cllr Keane. Both myself and yourself (Cathaoirleach Cllr Brendan Mulroy ) came in (to Westport Town Council ) 1999 and he was Cllr Keane to us all.
"He was the first man to reach the hand out and welcome us, when you’re a young skitter as he referred to ourselves, you really felt like you were part of the council.
“When people talk about a person of the people, Martin Keane was a person of the people in the true sense of it; he optimised everything that was good about Westport.
“He crossed so many barriers and divides, he contributed so much - when you think about it in a political scenario, he was an independent in a true sense of the word. He never had an affiliation with a party, he never curried favour with a party - the only time he would ever call you was for a bit of advice or to see what Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil were going to do and you could have nothing but respect for him at the end of the day.
“In terms of sport, you had GAA, soccer, community games, the boxing club - so many different organisations and he was the heartbeat of so many. When you think of the money alone he would have raised through Lotto sales, church gate collections, raffles - he would go into business and say will you give us a few quid for this or that.
“A man of the people and a huge loss to our community, it was beautiful to go up Bridge Street and Shop Street and see hundreds of people young and old lining up - we will miss him hugely."
Cllr Christy Hyland added: "He was always a community man, not just for Westport town but for the whole hinterland, and all the young people that he brought in and kept them busy with his involvement in sport, he was always helping people.
"In my time as a uniformed Garda and then as a detective, we’d always be chatting and talking about guiding young people, which you could do at the time.
"He had his own personal challenges, that he dealt with and were behind him and he was a great example the way he became such a community man.
"His fundraising efforts alone for organisations and fuel appeal at Christmas for people going through tough times, even a few weeks ago we were talking about someone who was going through a tough time and Martin rose to that challenge in a very discreet way and he dealt with it."
Local TD, Deputy Michael Ring also expressed his sadness at the passing of Martin, saying: "I was saddened to hear of the passing of Martin Keane.
"Martin was a truly wonderful man. He was a community activist and a wonderful advocate for the youth of the area. Martin always did his very best for his community without seeking anything in return. He was involved in a number of organisations and he always strived to do his very best for everyone. I served with Martin on the Westport Town Council. He was a wonderful colleague Martin will be a huge loss to his family and the people of Westport. I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to Martin’s sister Marie, his nieces, nephews and extended family members".