The death has taken place in Hertfordshire, England, of popular Fermanagh man, Pat Reilly.

Pat’s sister spoke to the Impartial Reporter about her brother and described him as a “good, decent and honest man who always wanted to see people get fair play”.

Mary McGoldrick was seven years younger than her brother Pat, who turned 70 in July of this year, just one month before this death.

“I remember Pat as a wonderful brother. He was so so kind to me. I adored him and he was my hero,” Mary reveals.

Pat, Mary and their mother lived in a house beside Mac’s shop in Teemore and Mary has fond memories of growing up with her brother.

“He loved his music. I remember him with a transistor and later a tape recorder listening to Merle Haggard, Buddy Holly, Creedence Clearwater, Janice Joplin and many others.”

“I remember when I was four or five years old we had an old shed that had not been put to use, and Pat would read to me in there. I remember him reading me Black Beauty and Heidi. He was a born educator. He read to me because he knew I loved it,” she said.

Pat would go on to cultivate that instinct for educating to train and pursue a career as a teacher. He worked in St Oliver Plunkett’s in Belfast, St Aidan’s Derrylin, St Eugene’s, Rosslea before joining St Tierney’s in Rosslea where he stayed for many years.

“I remember meeting a woman in Teemore and she told me that her son hated school. That he could not learn. But Pat changed everything for that boy. The woman told me that when Mr. Reilly was teaching a light shone in her son,” Mary recalls before adding.

“Pat had an innate vision into the vulnerable and he wanted to help them. And this was in a time long before children were being assessed. Pat just knew when a child needed extra help.”

Pat died in Hertfordshire in England, where he lived for the past 18 months, close to his daughter Siobhan. And Mary has been struck at how people are grieving for Pat in both Fermanagh and across the Irish sea in England:

“They are heartbroken in Hertfordshire. He was friends with Greeks, with Italians, with English, with people from the Caribbean. Pat just loved people and he never had any time for any sectarianism either. He could not abide it,” Mary explained, going on to say that he was a man of conviction.

“He would speak his truth, even if he did not agree with you. He was honest with people without ever falling out with anyone. But more than anything I will just remember him as a wonderful brother and a wonderful parent.”

In later life Pat was well known around Enniskillen where he worked as a freelance photographer for the Fermanagh Herald newspaper. A popular figure who was known and liked by all,

Pat is survived by his four children, Roisin, Siobhan, Patrick and Aodh and 10 grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by his wife, Maggie, who passed away in 2011.