Patrick Hillery 1923 – 2008: books of condolence opened across home county of Clare
Irish Independent, Monday, 14th April 2008
By Pat Flynn
Books of condolence will be opened across the native county of former president Dr. Patrick Hillery today. Across Co. Clare, tributes have been paid to the sixth president, who died in Dublin on Saturday. The public will be able to write messages of condolence at Ennis Library and Paddy Hillery Library in Miltown Library as well as the County Council Headquarters in Ennis.
Mayor of Clare, Patricia Mc Carthy, described Paddy Hillery as a consummate statesman and a wonderful ambassador for his native county. She said that Dr. Hillery would be best remembered for delivering the stability the country required from the office of the President during both his terms. “The mid-1970’s was a turbulent time for the Irish presidency, President Erskine Childers died in office in 1974 and two years later his successor, Cearbhall O Dalaigh, resigned the position. A stable presidency was required for the country,” she said. She added that Dr. Hillery was an immensely popular president, both at home and abroad.
“Patrick Hillery was a wonderful ambassador for Co. Clare and Ireland. Wherever he went he brought a wonderful sense of responsibility with him and always a sense of pride in the country he was representing. The remarkable list of honours and decorations he was awarded during his two terms as president is testament to his popularity and the high regard in which he was held,” she said. Mayor Mc Carthy also said that Dr. Hillery was very proud of his native county. “Besides spending every summer at his family home in Spanish Point, I know that Dr. Hillery was very interested in the exploits of Clare’s football and hurling teams.”
Clare County Manager Alec Fleming said he was also saddened to hear of Dr Hillery’s passing. He said: “Dr Hillery was one of Ireland’s most loved statesmen who will always be remembered for his humility, ability to communicate and, most of all, his love for his country and his native County Clare.
“Indeed, Clare County Council was honoured to hold a civic reception for Dr Hillery and for the past three years Dr Hillery’s two terms as President have been profiled and celebrated in one of Clare Museum’s most successful ever exhibitions.”
The museum curator John Rattigan added: Since the summer of 2000, Clare Museum has received in instalments, a large collection of presentations and gifts made to Dr Patrick Hillery while carrying out his public duties during a political career, which spanned from 1951-1990. “These now form part of one of the most successful exhibitions ever hosted by Clare Museum. Clare People have shown a great affection for and interest in Dr Hillery’s career achievements. I know from speaking with many of the thousands people who visited the exhibition that they are honoured to describe Dr Patrick Hillery as one of their own.”
Clare Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley said, “People in Clare are very proud of Paddy Hillery and his achievements.”