They came from all walks of life to St Dominic’s Church in Kenagh last weekend - from the world of politics, sport, agriculture and the local community - to bid a final farewell to the respected and popular Fine Gael Councillor, Paddy Belton, who passed away suddenly while watching television in his home last Thursday evening.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also among the hundreds of mourners who attended removal and funeral services over the weekend. Also in attendance were Minister for Health, James Reilly; Junior Minister for Finance, Brian Hayes; MEP Mairead McGuinness; Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton; General Secretary, Fine Gael Tom Curran and Avril Doyle - a relative of Cllr Belton - to mention but a few.
In the end, it was Cllr Belton’s love of his family and the community in which he lived all his life that mattered most, and that was the focal point of Fr Barden’s eulogy during the late councillor’s Funeral Mass on Sunday Sunday.
“Family was so important to Paddy - his brother Liam died when he was a young man and left a big family behind; it was Paddy who helped out,” Fr Barden added. “Paddy also supported Louis J in his political career and the commandment ‘Love one another’ was so apt to Paddy because he loved people and they loved him.”
Fr Barden then went on to speak about Cllr Belton’s renowned sporting abilities in both GAA and Rugby circles and he paid tribute to his managerial and coaching support to Kenagh GAA club.
“Paddy played for Kenagh and St Martin’s and he also played rugby for Longford,” the parish priest continued. “He also liked to bet on the horses and was at Punchestown the day before he slipped away. Paddy represented the area for 14 years in politics and his biggest strength was in his love of people - he helped so many people in such a quiet way and was to the fore of the building of the community centre here in Kenagh. He was involved in everything, and he supported everything, and he will be dearly missed by so many people.”
Guards of Honour lined the route of the cortege in honour of Cllr Belton. Representatives from Kenagh GFC and Longford Rugby Club lined the route as the councillor’s remains were brought from St Joseph’s in Longford town to his beloved Kenagh last Saturday evening. His council colleagues and representatives from the Fine Gael Party also held Guards of Honour on Sunday during the Funeral Mass. Cllr Belton was also a very active member of the Kenagh Gun Club and he had a great knowledge of wildlife and its habitat.
Cllr Belton had been in local politics since 1999, having secured the seat held by his brother Louis J who was elected to Dáil Eireann in the Longford/Roscommon Constituency.
The late Cllr Paddy Belton is survived by his sister Maureen; brother Louis; sister-in-law Mary; brother-in-law Val; nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives and many friends.
Page 3: Tributes paid to the late Paddy Belton