'The essence of what is best about public service'

Sitting Councillor Seán Smith to be laid to rest today

Cavan County Councillor Sean Smith from Bawnboy will be laid to rest today. The Fianna Fáil representative was a brother of Deputy Brendan Smith, TD.

Cllr Smith passed away last Sunday morning, January 15, after an illness bravely bourne.

The former Cathaoirleach had served the people of west Cavan on the local authority for more than four decades.

He was first elected to Cavan County Council in 1979, representing the Belturbet Electoral Area, and was re-elected on seven occasions since.

Tánaiste and Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil, Micheál Martin, described Cllr Smith as a "Fianna Fáil party stalwart, my colleague and good friend".

He said: “Seán, a native of Bawnboy, was the essence of what is best about public service."

One of the party's longest serving councillors nationwide with an unbroken 44 years of service, the Tánaiste said Cllr Smith had given "distinguished and exemplary service" to the people of west Cavan.

“Seán was passionate about the development of his community and county and tirelessly sought to improve the lives of those he represented. His work in relation to agriculture was always deeply impressive. I recall at my last meeting with our group of councillors in Cavan how Seán made the case for more investment in services and infrastructure in areas like West Cavan," said Minister Martin.

“Seán’s service to his community, county and party was exemplary and he made a real and lasting impact and difference. Seán loved his community and represented it with a tireless commitment and energy. Cavan and Fianna Fáil have lost one of our finest public representatives," he continued.

On his own behalf, and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil organisation, the Tánaiste extended his deepest sympathy to Seán’s family and community.

Current Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr John Paul Feeley, had high praise for his council colleague: “I am very sorry to hear the of the death of Councillor Sean Smith. He has borne his long illness stoically, continuing his dedicated service on Cavan County Council, most recently joining the Corporate Policy Group Meeting on Thursday, 5th January and the Monthly Meeting on Monday, 9th January on-line.

“I have known Sean all of my life, my own father having served on the Council with him from 1985. I always valued and respected his wise judgement, clear thinking, insight and practical approach. I offer my sincere condolences to Ann, Emer, Áine, Killian and Conor, their spouses and fiancée, his grandchildren, of whom he was especially proud, and wider family, his brothers and sister, especially his brother, Deputy Brendan,” added Cllr Feeley.

Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan, added: “In my time at Cavan County Council, I have been struck by Sean’s commitment, compassion, and genial nature, matched only by his determination to always do what was best for his community and his county.

“His record of 43 years’ service on Cavan County Council is testament to the high regard in which he was held locally. On behalf of the management and staff of Cavan County Council, I offer my deepest condolences to his wife Ann, daughters Eimear and Áine, sons Conor and Kilian, brothers and sister, and his extended family and many friends,” added Mr Ryan.

Fine Gael Senator Joe O'Reilly was also among those to pay tribute, having served with Cllr Smith for 20 years on the local authority.

"He was an exemplary public representative completely dedicated to the needs of his constituents. He brought passion, high principle and sincerity to his contributions in the Council Chamber," said Senator O'Reilly.

He also described him as a"dedicated family man" and "successful and progressive farmer".

A member of the Fianna Fáil party, Cllr Smith held the position of Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council from 1989 - ’90 and again from 2003 - ’04, was member of many committees, including the board of Cavan Monaghan ETB, and was the sitting Chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Emergency Services Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

His funeral mass will be celebrated today in St Mogue's Church, Bawnboy, with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Cllr Smith was predeceased by his parents John F. and Jane, his sister Sr. Kathleen and his brother Stephen.

He is surved by his loving wife Anne (née Byrne-Kingscourt) and children Eimear (Shane McManus), Áine (Cian O’Brien), Conor (Leanne Connell) and Kilian (Jordan Lambe), grandchildren Enda, Dearbhla, Senan, Ríain and Méabh. Cllr Smith is also sadly missed by his sister Carmel Fitzgerald (London), brothers Hughie (Ann-Oxford), Noel, Fr Tommy, Ben and Brendan (Anne), brothers-in-law Pat and Seamus, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours, a wide circle of friends and his Council and Cavan/Monaghan ETB colleagues.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

As a mark of respect, the Cavan Joint Policing Committee scheduled to take place yesterday evening, Monday, January 16, in Cavan Town Hall was postponed.