A former Fermanagh District Councillor and former businessman in the county, Mr. Paddy Flanagan, a native of Derrygonnelly, passed away peacefully at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen, on Sunday, August 12, aged 81 years. Late of Main Street, Derrygonnelly, the well-known figure throughout the Fermanagh community and farther afield, had been in declining health for a number of years.
A son of John and Teresa Flanagan (formerly Murphy), Paddy was born in 1931 and was educated in St. Patrick's Primary School in the village and then continued his studies as a boarder at St. McCartan's in Monaghan.
He studied Classics in University College Dublin, and subsequently went to work in the GPO in Dublin, before coming to Derrygonnelly in 1966 with his wife Concepta (formerly Murray) to run the grocery shop on Main Street followed by the chip shop until 2004.
Paddy is well remembered for driving the grocery shop delivery van throughout the Derrygonnelly, Boho, Garrison, Belleek and surrounding areas.
He and Concepta, who celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on August 8, 2012, had a family of 12 children - John, Paddy, Yvonne, Niamh, Colm, Ciara, Eimear, Cormac, Bl�naid, Lorcan, �adaoin and Derbhile. He had also been an adored grandfather to 16 - Christopher, Ellie, Caolin, Meaghan, Niamh, Darragh, Medbh, Lucy, Darcy, Aoibh, Daisy, Cara, Thomas, Odhr�n, Niall, and Jenna.
Paddy had been a deeply proud Irishman, a lover of history and politics, a Gaelic scholar and speaker. He loved all music but he had a particularly deep gr�, respect and knowledge of traditional Irish music.
With his wife Concepta, Paddy was one of the founding members of the Eddie Duffy festival and he served as its first Chairperson. The couple both continued to have a long standing association with the festival committee and its development. He was a proud player and committee member for the Derrygonnelly Harps football team and he had been a key member with his brothers Tommy, Eamon and Hugh on the winning 1959 league team; he also acted as a referee for years. He went on to train the under 14s and for many years continued to transport the underage teams to matches across the country.
His contribution to the people of Derrygonnelly and the surrounding areas was immense. His Main Street home was an open house for people from all walks of life. For many years it was the hub of the Derrygonnelly community and refuge for many.
He represented all sections of the community serving as an Independent Councillor on Fermanagh District Council for 12 years and continued to represent and serve local people in various capacities for many years after that. He was a key member and supporter of the Credit Union movement serving at both local Board and Chapter level right up until ill health prevented further involvement.
He served on the Board of Governors of St. Patrick's Primary School, Derrygonnelly, and St. Fanchea's Secondary School in Enniskillen.
He served the people of Fermanagh sitting on the Road Safety Council and the Western Health and Social Services Board which was the key committee which fought for the provision of hospital geriatric services for Fermanagh at the old Erne hospital site. Whilst on Fermanagh District Council, Paddy had also been instrumental in the battle to have the Enniskillen Forum built as a Leisure Service to the county.
He was an active member of the Community Games Ireland team who provided opportunities for children and young people to grow and develop in positive and healthy ways through sporting and cultural activities. He transported scores of local children to the games at area, county, provincial and national level. He was also active and supportive of the local Girl Guide and Scouts groups in Derrygonnelly. Paddy was also well-known for transporting scores of children to camps across Ireland. He later went on to transport the elderly people from Derrygonnelly to functions, celebrations, hospital appointments and other activities whilst he himself was 70+ years old.
With Concepta, Paddy was also an active member of LIFE Northern Ireland from 1982 to 1995. Paddy's widely attended funeral mass - a celebration of his life - took place at St. Patrick's Church, Derrygonnelly on Wednesday, August 15. The chief celebrant was the Rev. Fr. Lorcan Lynch, assisted by the Rev. Fr. Noel McGahan and the Rev. Fr. Brian D'Arcy.
The prayers of the faithful, which were said in English and Irish, were led by his children and grandchildren, and the main readings were delivered by his grandchildren. The reflection at the end of the mass was delivered by Paddy's daughter Yvonne.
The music which was done in a traditional Irish style, featuring hymns and solos, was led by Lorena and Maggie Maguire, friends of the family. Danny Boy and Amazing Grace, two of Paddy's favourite songs were sung. Burial took place at the adjoining churchyard.
Paddy is survived by his wife, Concepta, their 12 children and 16 grandchildren. Predeceased by his brother Hugh, he leaves his brothers and sisters, Eamon, Tommy, Fintan, Gerald, Mai, Teresa and Fidelma, the wider family circle and his many friends.