Thousands attended the funeral in Castlebar, Co. Mayo yesterday of Eithne Kenny (née McGinley), the Donegal-born mother of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
She passed away on Saturday morning following a short stay at Castlebar General Hospital. She was aged 93.
Mary Eithne McGinley was born and raised in Glencolmcille. Her father, James John McGinley, was a lighthouse keeper from Malinbeg and her mother was from Carrick.She qualified as a home economics teacher, then met and married Henry Kenny, a primary school teacher and TD from Mayo. They had four sons - John, Henry, Enda and Kieran - and a daughter Marie.
The Taoiseach spoke on Saturday night, at the President’s Dinner in the Burlington Hotel, of his mother’s Donegal roots.
He referred to a “celebration of a life long lived, one of devotion”. He said it was a coincidence of fate that he learned about his mother’s death on Saturday morning as he was aboard the naval ship the LE Roisin, “Her father was a light-keeper in Donegal and actually served on the Tuskar in World War I. Being a woman who loved the sea, and had a great affection for the lifeboats, I suppose it was fitting that I had a call from Fionnuala to tell me - it was just north of the Tuskar Rock - that her spirit had gone off into eternity.”
Liam Ó Cuinneagáin of Oideas Gael said yesterday: “Mrs Kenny and her family kept in touch with Glen all down through the years, they never lost touch with the Glen.”
President Michael D Higgins, former President Mary McAleese and several Ministers attended the removal. Fianna Fáil were represented by deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív. Mourners queued for up to two hours over the weekend to pay their respects and one government minister was reported to have said he had never seen crowds like it. At yesterday’s Requiem Mass in The Church of the Holy Rosary, Fr Pat Donnellan called Mrs Kenny a “dignified and gracious lady of deep faith who gave generously to all of her many gifts”. He said she was “as proud as punch” that her son had been elected Taoiseach.