Sadness around Donegal as Sean McEniff's life and times are recalled

In one of his last interviews, Cllr McEniff spoke to the Donegal Democrat about his life in politics.

By Matt Britton

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By Matt Britton

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editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

Sadness around Donegal as Sean McEniff's life and times are recalled

The late Cllr Sean McEniff

There is sadness around the county with the news that 81-year-old Cllr. Sean McEniff has passed away in the Mater Private Hospital surrounded by his family. He died as a result of an accident in Puerto Rico in the Canary Islands in October.

Cllr. McEniff was the longest-serving county councillor in the country, and only last year he was honoured by the leader of Fianna Fáil, Michéal Martin at a banquet in Dublin’s Fir Tree Burlington Hotel.

He was regarded as a consummate politician.

In one of his last interviews, Cllr McEniff spoke to the Donegal Democrat about his life in politics.

“I have no regrets, I enjoyed and continue to enjoy every minute of it. Politics has presented me with great challenges over the years and I relished every one of them. We had many’s an argument in the chamber but at the end of the day we left it all behind when the meetings were over. I always lived by the saying: ‘Never let the sun set in your anger’,” he said.

He had this ‘can-do’ attitude, there was no such thing in his vocabulary as the word problem; to Sean McEniff this was just another challenge. He was regarded very much as the people’s politician.

“As you can imagine, it has been like a roller-coaster. There have been ups and downs, but there is also that great rush of adrenalin knowing that you have achieved something worthwhile.

“At my age I can afford to be retrospective, but there are many things around now that the younger people take for granted that were not there in my time. We now have great roads, and a much improved infrastructure, a wealth of both indoor and outdoor facilities, a county that we can be proud of and above all, peace in our time.”

Sean and his family built up a large portfolio of hotels, not only at home, but also in the capital city where he brought that touch of Donegal hospitality.

His main love in life, along with his family, had always been politics.

His time in politics spanned the career of Fianna Fáil leaders including Lemass, Lynch, Haughey, Reynolds, Ahern and Cowen - testifies to this.

Asked what he attributed his success and unlimited energy to, Cllr McEniff replied: “It’s quite simple really,” he said.

“I like to think I have a listening ear. I try my best to help people out. Sometimes this has gotten me into bother, but I can assure you I have no regrets, I would do it all again.

“I have a truly wonderful family, including 21 grandchildren. I would like to thank each and everyone of them here on record.”