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June 8th 2005

Peter Kennedy laid to rest

Huge crowds turn out to pay last respects to highly regarded councillor

The sun shone brightly at noon on the last day of May as the funeral cortege of Peter Kennedy departed St. Patrick’s for Clar cemetery, led by a lone piper. A guard of honour of past and present public representatives stood atop the steep brae of the Church - lower down the local Fianna Fail Cumainn lined up to pay respects. Then, as the hearse turned towards Clar, members of the Town Youth Band were grouped to bid farewell to their former mentor.
Earlier at concelebrated mass in a packed church, Fr. Willie Peoples spoke of the many facets of Peter’s life - from his time as a salesman on the road, to his work for the mart, and a period as painter and decorator. But it was for his endeavours and service to the community that Peter Kennedy will be best remembered. Elected to Donegal Co. Council nearly twenty years ago, he combined his efforts as a public representative with service in the local fire brigade and a founder of the town youth band.
Fr. Peoples, in his homily, said that Peter’s life was fulfilled by ordinary people and ordinary things and he brought a smile to the face of many with his vivid sense of humour. He was a gentle and friendly man who worked hard for his community but, declared the priest “he kept a big eye on the world and, I would say, might have tried to run it, if he had got his way. Peter was a man who stood his ground and fought his own corner. He was chairman of three important bodies at one time, demanding a big commitment in effort and time - but Peter enjoyed all that”.
Fr. Peoples said that we all live to accomplish a single big thing in our time on earth and he felt that if he had to pick the one in Peter’s life it would be the opening of the new fire station in town, a development that he had done much to bring about and of which he was extremely proud.
“However”, affirmed Fr. Peoples “the most important aspect in Peter’s life were his family, neighbours and friends - that is what Peter Kennedy was about.”
Speaking at the graveside, Minister Pat the Cope said the crowds that attended the removal, wake and funeral, reflected the respect Peter had earned over the years. He worked and fought for his community at all levels. The new fire station and Public Services Centre are monuments to his work, declared the Minister. “We have many good memories of Cllr. Peter Kennedy” said Pat, and, turning towards the grave, he saluted Peter with a final farewell“May the green sod of Clar rest gently on your breast”.
Leading the mourners was Peter’s wife Nancy, sons Rory, Pauric, Jonathan, Ciaran, with wives Linda and Jenni; girlfriends Stephanie and Carol; grandchildren Chloe, Jasmine and India; his sisters Margaret, Tina, Kathleen and Mena; brothers Paddy and Liam.
Representing the Taoseach was his Aide de Camp, Commandant Michael Murray.

Tributes to Peter on pages 6 & 7 of print edition of Donegal Times

Well loved son of Donegal

The cortege of Cllr Peter Kennedy leaving St Patrick’s Church flanked by guards of honour from the local Fianna Fail Cumainn, fire service, council officials and public representatives. On Main Street a fire tender awaits to lead the funeral procession to Clar Chapel. Photos: Jason McGarrigle

The death of Peter Kennedy has robbed this town and the south Donegal area of a dedicated and committed councillor. Although in poor health for quite a while, Peter was attending meetings and working on constituency issues up to the week before his passing. The sheer size of the crowds at his removal from Letterkenny Hospital, the wake, funeral mass in St. Patrick’s, and burial at Clar, bore testimony to the respect and affection in which the man was held. Having represented the Donegal Electoral Area for almost twenty years, a legacy of achievement survives him. But for all his accomplishments, many of which are highly visible in the infrastructure of the town, Peter would have been equally proud of his stance in pursuing the interests of the less fortunate in our community - and he worked assiduously to further their cause. He ran an ‘open house’ - nobody was turned away. If he himself was not there, Nancy or one of the boys were, and callers were treated with kindness and courtesy. Indeed over the days of wake and funeral, Peter’s ready availability and his many acts to assist and help the underdog, were common topics of conversation.
He was passionate in the promotion of his beloved Donegal Town and environs. Indeed at an electoral area meeting just a couple of weeks ago he told our reporter, Margaret Gallagher, that he would ensure that certain motions concerning the town were aired, “I have a long list - I’ll raise them - even if we have to stay here till midnight”. This from a man who, to understate the case, was not in the best of health.
Other people in this issue write of different aspects of Peter’s career, but we cannot finish this ‘Opinion’ piece without saluting a man who spent a large portion of his life working for the advancement and betterment of all our people. We extend deepest sympathy to wife Nancy, sons Rory, Pauric, Jonathan and Ciaran; daughters-in-law; grandchildren; brothers, sisters, and wider family.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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