News Archive 2020

Information for media on the Funeral Liturgy for Seamus Mallon RIP

Background
The Funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Seamus Mallon RIP will be celebrated today in Saint James of Jerusalem Church, Mullaghbrack, in the Archdiocese of Armagh, at 12 midday.  The chief celebrant of the Mass will be Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore and Primate of All Ireland.  Father Michael Woods, Parish Priest of Tandragee (Ballymore and Mullaghbrack), will concelebrate the Mass. The Mass will be televised on RTE News Now and on its online and digital platforms, as well as live-streamed on www.seamusmallon.com.  Burial will take place immediately afterwards at the cemetery in the grounds of the Church. 

These are the satellite details:
1145-1400 GMT

Satellite Eut 7B 7B Txp B05 H
Bandwidth 6MHz
Video -HD
Downlink 11,191.33H
S/R 4937.3 KSym
FEC 3/4
MPEG 4 , DVBS-2, 8PSK, 4:2:0
Roll Off .2

RTE MCR Contact- 00353 1 2082230

Music
Malachi Cush – Vocals
Plunkett McGartland – Keyboard
Matthew Campbell – Violin and Whistle

Nearer My God to Thee – Entrance Hymn

Welcome before the Mass by Father Michael Woods, Parish Priest of Tandragee
Good afternoon everybody.  On behalf of Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Eamon Martin, the other clergy present and on my own behalf, I would like to welcome you all to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of the soul of Seamus Mallon here at Saint James Church of Jerusalem, Mullaghbrack,

Straightaway, can I extend a particular welcome to Seamus’ family – his daughter Orla, his son-in-law Mark, his grand-daughter Lara, his sisters Maura, Jean and Kate, his brother-in-law Joe, and his nieces and nephews and their families.  We are deeply conscious that for you, Orla, and the entire family this is an occasion of great personal sadness as you say farewell not so much to a man of high stature in public life on the island, but rather your own dear father, grand-father, father-in-law, brother, uncle and somebody hugely special and significant in your family lives. Our profound sympathies to you all.

Can I extend a warm Mullaghbrack welcome as well to everybody else who has joined us: the Deputy Lieutenant of County Armagh presenting the Queen, the Aide de Camp to President Higgins, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Secretary of State, the Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, MPs, US Consul General, Ministers, Speaker of the Assembly, MLAs, TDs, Senators, Councillors and so many public representatives North and South, past and present, together with Seamus’ large circle of friends and admirers from all quarters of the island. Your presence in such huge numbers is testament in itself to the impact of Seamus on the life of this island.

I am particularly pleased to greet so many people from this parish and the surrounding area.  Seamus’ own people.  It was his personal wish that his funeral should be here in the Church in which so many sacred moments in his life and that of his family were marked and celebrated, including his own baptism over 83 years ago.  Seamus Mallon was a man of deep faith and it is our privilege to host the final liturgical and scared moment of his long, full and rich life here in the place of profound importance to him.

We are very proud in this parish of the many achievements of Seamus Mallon and the enormous contribution he made to peace and reconciliation on our island.  For that reason, we are particularly pleased that several representatives of other Christian denominations have joined us to say their farewells, and pay their tributes to a man who placed huge store by the holding out of the hand of friendship.  As Seamus’ Parish Priest, and in that same spirit, I extend a particular warm welcome to you.

We proceed now towards the commencement of Mass and before doing so we have the bringing up of the Life Gifts – symbols of the different aspects of Seamus’ life that were important and dear to him. 

The first gift is a copy of Seamus’ own memoir, A Shared Home Place which he had published just last year and it is being brought forward by Andy Pollak who collaborated with Seamus in the writing of the book.  ENDS.

Father Woods then goes on to read out the other gifts and bearers as in the list following and  provides narration of the gifts being brought to the altar

  • A Shared Home Place– carried by Andy Pollak who collaborated with Seamus on this book.
  • Seamus’ Maiden Speech in the House of Commons – carried by Nuala Feehan, Friend & Seamus’ Executive Assistant
  • A Man of Faith – a photograph of Seamus with Pope John Paul the Second carried by Sean Lenagh, Friend & Chairman of Mid Armagh Branch of SDLP
  • A Pot of Roses – carried by Marie Harte, Family Friend & Carer
  • A Book for Poppy – carried by Lara Lenny, Granddaughter
  • A Fishing Reel – carried by Kevin Loughny Friend & Fishing Companion
  • Rosapenna Golf Balls – carried by Sean Conlon, Friend & Golfing Companion

First Reading – read by Nichola Mallon, Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Leader of the SDLP and Friend:
A Reading from Ecclesiastes

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven; a time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted; a time for knocking down, a time for building; a time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing; a time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing; a time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for throwing away; a time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking.  God has made everything beautiful in its time.

The Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

Responsorial Psalm – The Lord will heal the Broken Heart

Second Reading – read by Frank Feely, Friend and SDLP stalwart:
A Reading from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy

As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me depart.  I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish;

I have kept the faith; all there is to come for me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the upright judge, will give to me on that Day; and, not only to me, but to all those who have longed for his appearing.

The Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

Gospel Reading – proclaimed by Father Michael Woods PP
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew:

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down his disciples came to him.

He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Homily preached by Archbishop Eamon Martin
Brothers and sisters, Seamus would be pleased to see so many of his loved ones, friends, colleagues and people of all persuasions gathered here in Mullaghbrack, sharing the place that he was proud to call his home.

In the entrance hall of the Seamus Heaney “home place” in Bellaghy, there’s a quotation from one of Heaney’s poems (The Herbal, Human Chain 2010):

I had my existence. I was there.
Me in place and the place in me.

I expect that Seamus Mallon felt the same about Mullaghbrack and Markethill:  “Me in place and the place in me”. But like the poets – Heaney and Kavanagh and McGahern – his sense of place was never tribal or ‘parochial’, in any narrow sense.  For him, ‘place’ was always about openness, welcome and belonging.

He wrote lyrically about his “home place” in the opening stanzas of his recent book:

“Every day of the week I am fortunate to be within touching distance of places and moments that have helped to shape our country’s history, and indeed have helped to shape me, both as a person and a politician … Each of my kitchen windows looks at the symbols of four centuries of divided history: the fears, the prejudices, the ethnic hatred, the lack of understanding … (Chapter 1 A Shared Home Place, Seamus Mallon with Andy Pollak, The Lilliput Press, 2019)”. 

But Seamus was determined to help put these things right, to make a real difference, and to leave the world a better place than it was when he entered it and was baptised in this parish, back in 1936.

People sometimes speak of the “noble vocation of politics”.  Seamus Mallon was a shining example of someone who gives their life in a vocation of service.  

As a committed Christian, he prayed daily the words of the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy kingdom Come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  And his prayer led to action, as he used his many gifts to build up God’s kingdom in the world –  a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace. 

Today’s first reading from the book of Ecclesiastes speaks of there being “a time for every occupation under heaven”.  Seamus certainly took time for healing, time for building up, time for gathering, time for planting.  He made time for mourning, but also for laughing and for dancing; but he had no time for tearing down, or giving up; he had no time for hate, no time for war. 

The Beatitudes of today’s Gospel reading were his pattern for living: – “Blessed are the peacemakers; blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of right – theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”.

In recent days many commentators have spoken of Seamus as a man of integrity and courage who was unafraid to speak up or call it as it was – even at great personal risk.  He has been described as fair and principled, and as always respectful of the rights of others. 

Visitors to his wake have shared stories of his astute leadership and tough negotiating skills, and also of his “stubborn” determination and no-nonsense directness at times.

But many others, who have known Seamus in a personal way, have spoken of him as a devoted father, grandfather, brother, and as a faithful friend.  Seamus enjoyed good company wherever he could find it – whether it was fishing on Lough Inagh, or golfing in Rosapenna, or watching a match, or putting on plays and shows, pottering around the garden, playing with his faithful dog Jesse, or savouring a “creamy pint” or glass of whiskey with his friends.  Seamus was a “people person”, through and through, and whether he was with Presidents, Prime Ministers, party colleagues, or his own good neighbours and friends here in Markethill, he was the same Seamus.  He had an amazing capacity to remember people.  Despite all the distractions of national importance, still his loving care for Gertrude, his “doting” dedication to Orla, Mark and Lara and his affection for his sisters, nieces, nephews and extended family remained steadfast.

The last time I heard Seamus speak publicly was in September past during the Kennedy Summer School in New Ross.  Despite being into his eighty-fourth year, his energy and determination for peace were undimmed and the audience knew that they were in the presence of greatness.  His wise words that evening seemed to resonate especially with the younger people there, and his address sparked a prolonged standing ovation.  Seamus spoke with the authority and vision that come from having lived through the worst of “the Troubles” and personally played a central role in the landmark events of our Peace Process. 

Seamus Mallon was unequivocally anti-violence.  Like Heaney he saw the ongoing bloodshed of the past as a “waste of life” and a “waste of spirit”.  He empathised from his heart with all those who were suffering and his consistent condemnation of violence from whatever source often left him open to insult and unfair criticism. But his principles, rooted in a strong faith and in an unstinting commitment to a culture of life, remained steadfast in face of such opposition.

I find this passage from Seamus’ book particularly moving:

“As I walk or drive on my weekly rounds I am haunted by the places that have been violated; too many places violated in my parish, my county, my country, violated by murder and massacre, places I used to know and love as I passed by them on my boyhood bicycle (Chapter 5, A Shared Home Place)”. 

At the beginning of our ceremony, Sean carried forward a photograph of Seamus’ meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome – a picture of which he was very proud.  Just two months before Seamus became Deputy Leader of the SDLP, Pope John Paul II spoke these words to our politicians at Drogheda in September 1979. He said:

“Never think you are betraying your own community by seeking to understand and respect and accept those of a different tradition … I urge you who are called to the noble vocation of politics to have the courage … to be leaders in the cause of peace, reconciliation and justice … Those who resort to violence always claim that only violence brings about change … You politicians must prove them to be wrong … You must show that peace achieves the works of justice, and violence does not (Pope St John Paul II, Address at Drogheda, 29 September 1979)”. 

I have no doubt that those words inspired Seamus Mallon.  To his dying day he was consistent in his dedication to a culture of life and peace, and he remained a man of hope for a brighter and more peaceful tomorrow – a shared and respectful future where everyone can experience a sense of belonging.  A fitting tribute to the legacy of Seamus Mallon would be a renewed effort by all our political leaders and by all of us to build that “shared home place” which was Seamus’ vision and lifelong project.

For Christians our ultimate “shared home place” is of course with God, in heaven. Saint Paul wrote to the Philippians: “For us, our homeland is in heaven (Phil 3:20)”.  There is a passage in  his book where Seamus ponders on what God’s judgement might be for him “when it comes to the Last Day and the parable of the talents”.  He wrote: “I hope the judgment will be: ‘Could have done better.  Could have done things differently.  But tried his best (Chapter 14 A Shared Home Place)”. 

I think perhaps Seamus is a little hard on himself.  Here was a loving father, husband, brother and grandfather.  Here was a dedicated Catholic school teacher and principal, a kindly and attentive neighbour, a man of many talents who wasted none of them.  Here was a wholesome human being who spent himself unselfishly for his family, his local community, his country and for the common good.  Here was a peacemaker, a “bridge builder” a leader, a statesman, and a faithful worker for the Kingdom of God.

I am confident that God, in His great mercy, will be more inclined to greet Seamus with words like those of Saint Paul in today’s second reading: ‘Seamus, you have fought the good fight to the end; You have run the race to the finish; You have kept the faith; all there is to come for you now is the crown of righteousness which I the Lord, the upright judge, will give you’.

May he rest in peace. Orla, Mark, Lara, Maura, Jean, Kate, may you, and all Seamus’ loved ones find comfort in knowing he lived his life to the full and made a real difference to the world.  May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.  Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful
We pray for the many who mourn Seamus’ death, especially his daughter Orla, his son in law, Mark and his granddaughter Lara.  Also Seamus’ sisters Jean, Kate and Maura and all in his wider family circle. May they find comfort in a loving God and in the support of the community of people who knew and loved Seamus. (Read by Maire-Claire Jago-Byrne, Seamus’ God-daughter)

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

 

We pray for all those we have loved who have died, particularly for Seamus’ wife, Gertrude, and for Peggy, his sister. May they rest in eternal peace.
(Read by Billy Gamble, Seamus’ Private Secretary at Stormont)

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

 

We pray for all peacemakers, that they, like Seamus, find the strength and courage to continue their work. May God guide and support them in their efforts.
(Read by Seamus Livingstone, Friend and Treasurer of Mid Armagh Branch of SDLP)

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

We pray for all those who provided care for Seamus during his illness, the nurses, doctors and care staff and particularly for Marie for her steadfast support. (Read by Mark Lenny, son-in-law)

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

We pray for all who share this island, that they may live in the spirit of Seamus’ life and work: as good and tolerant neighbours, each proud of their identity while being sensitive to the identity of others, and all striving to live in peace together. (Read by Dáithí Ó Ceallaigh, friend and former Ambassador of Ireland to the UK)

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

 

We pray that the children in this country may be free to be friends with all. (Read by Lara Lenny, Seamus’ grand-daughter)

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

Prayer by Rev Tony Davidson             

Ag Críost an Síol – Offertory Procession.

Gift Bearers

  • Lara Lenny, Grand-daughter
  • Grace Lenny, Great Niece
  • Maria Lenny, Great Niece

Sign of Peace
Make me a Channel of your Peace

Communion hymns:
Pie Jesu
Love is his Way
Hail Queen of Heaven
Sliabh Gallion Braes (instrumental played by Donal O’Connor)

After Mass has ended, reflection on the life of Seamus Mallon by Tim O’Connor, friend and former Secretary General to the President of Ireland:
We gather today in this beautiful place to say farewell to a great Chieftain of Irish political life.  The annals will record Seamus Mallon as one of the key leaders of a seminal time in the history of the island of Ireland.  It is my task in the next few minutes to attempt, on your behalf, to pay tribute to him.  It is, of course, an impossible task in such a short time, but it is my duty to my great friend to try.

Seamus Mallon was born in Markethill on the 17 August 1936.  His father, Frank Mallon, was the Headmaster of Mullaghbrack Primary School, just up the road from this Church.  His mother, Jane O’Flaherty, was from Castlefinn in Co Donegal, and together they built a very happy home for Seamus and his four sisters, Maura, Peggy, Jean and Kate.

After a safe, contented childhood in Markethill, Seamus’ education was continued in Abbey CBS Grammar School in Newry – with whom he won a MacRory Cup medal in 1954 playing football, the GAA being another great passion in his life – and completed at Saint Joseph’s Teaching Training College in Belfast.  He qualified as a teacher, eventually succeeding his father as the Principal of Mullaghbrack Primary School.  He married the beautiful Gertrude Cush in 1964 and they set up what was to be a very happy home together in Markethill, blessed later by the arrival of their dear daughter Orla.  Seamus had a full and busy life, divided between home, school, GAA, the horses, fishing, golf and amateur drama – did you know that he directed an All-Ireland winning play Our Town at Athlone in 1962.  So far, you could say, so very normal and enjoyable.

But other drumbeats were sounding and getting louder and closer to that happy, normal life in Markethill.  It turned out that Destiny and Providence had other things in mind for Seamus Mallon.  And like Samuel in the Old Testament, when the call persisted, he had the courage to say “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”.

As we all know, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Northern Ireland was coming apart.  The benighted Troubles had begun.  Even though politics was not on his mind during his formative years, by the early 1970s, as a school principal, Seamus was clearly seen by others as a leadership figure and in 1973 he found himself with no choice but to put his name down on the ballot paper for Armagh District Council.  He was duly elected as an SDLP Councillor and thus began a stellar 32-year career in representative politics.

I said earlier it is impossible to do justice to the life of this great man in a few minutes and that is particularly so in regard to his tremendous political career.  Indeed, for a full account of that rich life and career, there is no better descriptor than his own compelling memoir, A Shared Home Place, referenced in Archbishop Eamon’s homily and published just last year, and written by Seamus in collaboration with Andy Pollak.  It turned out to be the final great project of Seamus’ life and one of which he was justifiably very proud.

If we were to seek to focus on some key highlights in that career, they would surely include the following:

  • The pivotal role Seamus played in the life of the SDLP, and the equally pivotal role it played in his.  He quickly rose through the ranks and by 1979 was Deputy Leader, thus beginning the long and tremendously fruitful leadership partnership with John Hume.  And speaking of John Hume, I know Orla is delighted that John’s dear wife Pat is with us today and therefore able to bring back to John a special message of good wishes to Seamus’ great friend and partner;
  • Seamus’ stellar almost twenty-year tenure as MP for Newry and Armagh at Westminster which resulted in him, in my view, ranking alongside O’Connell and Parnell as an outstanding orator and parliamentarian;
  • The leadership role Seamus played during the darkest years of the Troubles as an almost Biblical voice for decency, tolerance and the relentless pursuit of peace and reconciliation.  His revelation in the book that he made a conscious decision to go to every Funeral in his constituency related to the conflict speaks volumes in that regard.
  • Seamus’ central role as SDLP Chief Negotiator in the Multy-Party Talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, alongside the other leadership figures such as Prime Minister Tony Blair, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, President Bill Clinton, Senator George Mitchell and many others, a number of them here today.  Everybody involved agrees that Seamus was a pivotal figure throughout the Talks – a moral voice, a challenging task -master in terms of the key principles that were required as foundation stones, and a particularly central contribution to Justice, Policing and the shape and nature of the Executive and Assembly;
  • The extraordinary, forensic and leadership work he did on the implementing legislation for the Patten Report which gave us the transformational new beginning for policing in Northern Ireland;
  • His historic tenure as the inaugural Deputy First Minister in the NI Executive established under the Agreement and the leadership he gave alongside David Trimble to the new power-sharing institutions in their formative early years, until his retirement from the post in late 2001.

There were so many other things Seamus contributed to, but the clock is against us.

Seamus Mallon was a giant of his time.  That is why today, in this beautiful ceremony in this beautiful Church, it is important that we take the opportunity to reflect on, and give thanks for, the sacrifice, endurance, courage and leadership of a man whose contribution has meant a better life and future for every single one of us on this island.  I was reflecting recently with a friend of mine the contribution that Seamus had made and this friend put it like this to me: “weren’t we blessed at a time of such darkness and bleakness that a giant like Seamus Mallon rose up from among us and showed us the way”.   

What does that mean?  I would suggest it was a combination of many things.  His steadfastness, his refusal to resort to partisanship, his unfailing belief in partnership, his huge sense of fair play, his warmth and decency as a human being, and of course his fierce and unwavering commitment to non-violence.  There is a telling story in the book where Seamus recalls the words of his father to him when he was a young boy, “The only weapons which should ever be used again in this country are words.  Guns never solve problems, only make them.  Always remember that, son”.  My goodness, what wisdom.   And how profoundly the young Seamus was to take it to heart.  And how all of us have benefited so richly as a result.

Seamus also believed deeply in, and practised, the power of friendship.  He made friends everywhere and in all quarters.  He was loyal to them and they to him.  Being inside the circle of Seamus Mallon’s friendship meant being in a very warm place indeed.  He was fun, he was so kind.  Seamus did friendship extraordinary well.  That is not to say, of course, that everything was sweetness and light every day.  Being the recipient of the fearsome Mallon stare over the glasses perched on the nose was a mighty uncomfortable place to be.  But the clouds lifted quickly and the warmth of his sunshine was always worth the wait.  The size of the crowd here today and the huge outpouring of grief and tributes since his death on Friday tell that story loudly and clearly.

And so the litany of Seamus Mallon goes something like this: standing against the prevailing darkness, wind, hill and grain of troubled times, standing by decency, standing by fair play, standing by goodness, standing by extending the hand to the other side.  And could I add that the extending of that hand is reflected movingly in this Funeral Mass today by the presence, among others, of Rev Tony Davidson, a great friend of Seamus’.  It was Seamus’ express wish that Tony have a special role in his Funeral.  Thank you Tony for honouring your friend.

That is the essence of the Mallon Legacy – the commitment to the Shared Home Place, founded on peace, mutual respect and friendship.  Our prayer today in this beautiful Church is that the future of our island, North and South, will be defined and shaped by that Legacy. 

It says something of the kind of man that Seamus Mallon was that his human journey was to end here where it began, in his beloved Mullaghbrack and Markethill.  Despite all the garlands and awards, the fame and the glitter that go with a life and career so decorated far and wide as his was, what mattered most in the end was to be at home in Markethill and Mullaghbrack, among his own people and friends.

And in particular to be in the bosom of his family.  His sisters and their families have meant so much to him over the years.  And there is one other woman who has to be mentioned here, and who is practically family – Marie Harte.  Marie has been supporting Seamus for close on thirty years and, particularly over those tough last several weeks, she has been a total rock in his life and that of Orla.  Thank you Marie for all you have done.

And in the closest-in space of all there is Seamus’ own nuclear family, Orla and Mark and their beloved daughter Lara – Princess Lara as I like to call her.  Of course, up until 2016, the centre of that circle was occupied by his remarkable wife, Gertrude.  Anyone who knew Seamus Mallon knew how central to his life Gertrude had been and how they stood together through the darkest times of the Troubles. Sadly, she passed in 2016. 

Then there is Orla.  Supported by her own Mark, and their beautiful Lara, Orla has been a wonder to behold in her dedication to her beloved father.  The bond between Seamus and Orla was truly extraordinary.  In the difficult closing weeks of his life, how protected and safe Seamus felt in her great and tender care of him.  And how utterly proud he was of her.  Our heart goes out to you today Orla in your deep and terrible loss.  And to Mark and Lara.

I need to finish with a few thank-yous on Orla’s behalf.  Firstly, to you Archbishop Eamon for the honour you have done the family and Seamus in officiating at his Funeral Mass, and for the moving, generous way you have done so.  Seamus was a man of deep faith and this Liturgy in the Church in which he was baptised was very important to him, as he made clear to us in the days leading to his passing.  A very special thank you to Father Michael Woods, the Parish Priest, who has been such a support to Seamus and the Mallon Family over the years, particularly in the weeks during Seamus’ illness, and who has been hugely helpful to us in all the arrangements for today’s sacred occasion in his beautiful Church, to Cardinal Brady and all the other attending clergy, and to everybody who participated in today’s Liturgy.

Deepest gratitude also to all the people who helped with the practical arrangements for these last few days.  You are legion, sadly too many to mention everybody individually, but you know who you are. I am going to take a risk however and single out Seamus’ local Branch of the SDLP, led by Sean Lenagh and Seamus Livingstone, O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club at Mullaghbrack, where Seamus was Club President and with whom he had starred on many a day in his youth, the backroom team at SDLP-HQ, and Seamus’ wonderful neighbours and friends in Markethill.  This was a mammoth organisational effort and how brilliantly well it was all done. 

The Chieftain would definitely be pleased, and certainly Orla is profoundly grateful to each and every one of you.  Special gratitude and kudos also to the PSNI, under Chief Inspector Barney O’Connor, who did such important work in the organisation of today. 

Thanks also to all of you who have attended today’s Funeral or who called to the house for the Wake, or sent messages of sympathy.  Your presence and your words have been a tremendous comfort to Orla, Mark, Lara and the family. Orla has asked me to invite all of you that can to join her and the family after the Burial in the Armagh City Hotel.

And lastly, but very specially, Orla has asked me to thank the many professionals – doctors, nurses and carers – who provided medical, nursing and palliative care of the highest order to Seamus over the last several weeks of his illness.  In particular, Orla has asked me to mention Dr Gail Nicholson, Dr Emer Moriarty and Sister Linda Murphy.  Your expertise and skills, and those of your colleagues, all delivered with great kindness, were an enormous support and comfort to Seamus and Orla throughout that difficult time.  Thank you all so very much.

Leaba i measc na naomh go raibh ag Seamus Mallon.  Wishing Seamus Mallon a bed among the saints.  Thank you.                       

The Bard of Armagh sung by Joe Cullinane

Amazing Grace – Recessional Hymn

ENDS

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