Former Limerick Fine Gael leader and senior minister, Michael Noonan, paid a tearful tribute, to his sister Mary at her funeral this Monday. She was one of three women killed in a road crash, last week.
Mary Noonan, (78), was driving herself and two friends Mary Costello (73), and Mary Griffin (70), to a “book club” meeting in Listowel, when their car was involved in a collision with another vehicle.
Ms Noonan and Ms Costello – who’s husband Tom passed away six weeks previously following an illness – both died at the scene.
Ms Griffin was airlifted to hospital from the scene and is making a steady recovery.
Maeve Bradley (77), from Pallaskenry, who was driving the other car, and who also died at the scene, was cremated in a private ceremony this Monday, following her funeral mass.
Ms Noonan’s funeral was held at the tiny Church of The Assumption, in Loughill.
Mourners included well-known present and past TDs and ministers, Mary Harney, Willie O’Dea, Paschal Donohoe, and Patrick O’Donovan, as well as members of the judiciary, Supreme Court judge Mr Justice John McMenamin, and, Mr Justice George Birmingham, President of the Court of Appeal, who had also served as a minister of state under Garret Fitzgerald in the 1980s.
The Taoiseach was represented by acting Aide de Camp with the Defence Forces, Cpt Angela Lyons.
Michael Noonan thanked neighbours, gardai, and emergency services for their valiant response and efforts to save lives at the scene of the fatal two-car collision.
In a highly emotional reflection, he prayed for all the families involved.
He said his tragic sister had been the “focal point” and “keystone of the family”.
After momentarily being overcome with grief, he paused, and added poignantly: “We will miss her very much.”
In Pallaskenry, Fr John Dunworth told Maeve Bradley’s heartbroken family the community would rally around them.
The reposing of Mary Costello will take place from 3pm-6pm this Tuesday at Shanagolden Church.
The mother of five will be laid to rest in Knockpatrick Cemetery following mass at 12-noon, Wednesday.
Gardai have appealed for witnesses to last Thursday’s fatal collision, or anyone who may have dash cam footage of the incident, to contact them on 069-20650.