‘Great community man’: Former Leader notes correspondent makes his final journey

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

The late William O'Mahony from Ballylanders who was laid to rest this week Picture:Michael Cowhey

The late William O'Mahony from Ballylanders who was laid to rest this week Picture:Michael Cowhey

TRIBUTES have been paid to “a great family and community man” William O’Mahony of Ballylanders.

William, who was the local notes correspondent for the Limerick Leader for 31 years, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was in his 95th year.

“Willie was a great family and community man and he will be hugely missed by all in Ballylanders and beyond,” said Niall Collins TD.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of Fianna Fáil I’d like to express our condolences to his family on their loss and we will hugely miss his valuable input at our political meetings and activities.”

One of four children, William attended the local national school in Ballylanders.

He was also the only child from the school who went on to secondary school; making the 15-mile round trip each day to Mitchelstown on his bike.

Of the 25 students who started off the first day in the secondary school in Mitchelstown, only two stayed the course and completed the Leaving Cert. William was one of them.

Speaking to the Leader back in 2015 for a feature article to mark his retirement from penning the Ballylanders notes, William recalled how his school pal went on to be a dentist “and I was supposed to go onto higher education but I stayed at home on the farm”.

Life on the farm was hard at that time as there were no tractors but, William insisted, “people were happy”.

When William began doing the local notes back in ’84 “all the modern techniques weren’t there at all.

“We sent them in by letter and I remember driving in a few times myself and handing them into the office.

“It was nice to report about this and that but there were a few times that I could be a bit controversial,” William pointed out.

Over the years, William was involved in a number of local organisations and clubs which fed him material for his weekly notes. He was also sporty and was on the panel that claimed the 1952 county football title.

“We always had a good community spirit in Ballylanders but I remember one time there was a discussion and the discussion was so hot that I went home and walked the road for half an hour, or even an hour,” he said.

Sometimes local people would send him information but more times they mightn’t. “You would often be left to your own discretion to find things out - by word of mouth or by having your ear cocked.”

The topics in the notes, he said back in 2015, had more or less remained the same over the decades - “It’s still local gossip, isn’t it?”

“Local events like sport, matches, deaths and so forth.

“I’m not praising myself but I was praised for writing nice obituaries about local people who died. I enjoyed doing that.”

William O’Mahony is  predeceased by his wife Frances (nee Byron) and is sadly missed by his son Ger, daughters Aileen O'Dwyer (Ardpatrick) and Annette Kiely (Galbally), daughter-in-law Helen, sons-in-law Pat and Andrew, grandchildren Maeve, Conor and Billy, sister Phil, brother Tom, brother-in-law Jim, sister-in-law Margaret, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends.

He reposed at Ryan's Funeral Home, Ballylanders on Monday before his funeral Mass at The Church of The Assumption, Ballylanders on Tuesday. He was laid to rest in the local cemetery.