Irish Independent

Taoiseach and rugby legends at removal of businessma­n O’Reilly

- CAROLINE O’DOHERTY

Figures from the worlds of sport, business, politics and philanthro­py gathered yesterday in Donnybrook, south Dublin, for the removal of the remains of Dr Tony O’Reilly, who died at the weekend.

Taoiseach Simon Harris was among those who paid their respects at the Church of the Sacred Heart where Dr O’Reilly was baptised 88 years ago, and of which he remained a member until his death.

Mr Harris’s attendance was a gesture mourners were told was greatly appreciate­d by the family of the late businessma­n and rugby star.

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern also extended his sympathies to Dr O’Reilly’s six children and extended family.

Rugby legends Ollie Campbell, Mick Quinn and Brendan Mullin attended, as did Alan Wallace, president of Old Belvedere Rugby Club, and Tony O’Beirne, former president of the club for which Dr O’Reilly once played.

Racehorse trainer Mouse Morris was there along with Des and Audrey Dunne, formerly of Castlemart­in Stud.

The Ireland Funds, which Dr O’Reilly founded, was represente­d by chief executive Caitriona Fottrell, executive director Siobhán Gallagher, Nicki Lynch and Rachel Alabiso.

From the world of media came former film censor Sheamus Smith; John Bowman, formerly of RTÉ; RTÉ economics editor David Murphy and his wife Martina Devlin, the author and Irish Independen­t columnist.

Former Sunday Independen­t editor Anne Harris and Mary O’Sullivan, former features editor of the Sunday Independen­t, attended.

Also there was Eithne Healy, widow of Liam Healy, who was managing director of Independen­t Newspapers during Dr O’Reilly’s ownership of the newspaper group.

Mandy Scott, a close colleague from those days, also attended, along with veteran PR executive Ita Gibney.

Other mourners included Gerry Foley, headmaster of Belvedere College, where Dr O’Reilly was a pupil as a boy; his friend Michael Caslin, founder of 747 Travel; an old UCD friend, John Leonard; and Mark Nolan, general manager of Dromoland Castle.

Tom Lane, past president of Clongowes College Union, was there, as was Patrick Spicer, chair of Matheson legal practice, of which Dr O’Reilly was a former chair.

The chief mourners were Dr O’Reilly’s children, Susan, Cameron, Justine, Gavin, Caroline and Tony and their families. Peter Goulandris, brother of Dr O’Reilly’s late second wife, Chryss O’Reilly, and his wife Karen also attended.

Parish priest Monsignor Ciarán O’Carroll and Fr Bruce Bradley led the service to the man whom Msgr O’Carroll said had enriched the lives of so many in a great variety of ways.

He was “richly gifted” and “a great man who achieved so much in so many fields”, Fr Bradley said.

Symbols brought to the altar included a copy of the scriptures and a small, hand-carved wooden cross.

Cameron O’Reilly delivered a reading with reflection­s on a time to say goodbye.

“I have fought the good fight to the end. I have run the race to the finish. I have kept the faith,” he read.

Dr O’Reilly’s funeral takes place at the Church of the Sacred Heart this morning.

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